Every year, a week is set aside by the National Catholic Educational Association to nationally celebrate Catholic education.
This year Catholic Schools Raise the Standards will be celebrated with various activities from January 27 to February 2.
Principal Christopher Tigue of Wyoming Area Catholic School (WAC) in Exeter, who has been involved in the Catholic School system since 1998, says his favorite part of the school year is National Catholic Schools Week. My favorite day is Mismatched Day, Tigue said, the kids get a chance to wear something crazy for a day, and we (the staff) get the chance to see a part of their personalities that we normally wouldn't because of the school uniforms.
According to Kathy Gilmartin, principal of Holy Rosary School in Duryea, Catholic Schools Week is important because it gives students a time to step back from the academia and enjoy themselves in a good environment, as well as a fun way for parents and teachers to come together. A lot of times we are very involved in what we're doing, Gilmartin said, and I think this time gives us a chance to really look at the big picture of Catholic education. All 280 kids are excited for this coming week!
On Sunday, both schools will host open houses. Holy Rosary will have live performances of historical topics and themes from students participating in National History Day, a competition-based program where students present projects in the form of exhibits, performances, original papers, websites and documentaries. Gilmartin said the live performances are always a source of great excitement and entertainment for those attending the open house.
Tigue said spotlighting the children's projects is an important aspect of Catholic schools Week. The exhibits are a good way to give parents something in return, he said. It's also great to show the parents of potential students that the academic standards are high in Catholic Schools, not only our religious ones.
Carrie Maciejczyk, who has twin boys in second grade at WAC, said knowing her boys will be safe when she sends them to class is a big factor in continuing to send her sons to a Catholic school.
They have a no-bullying policy, she said, and my boys will grow up with a deeper understanding about what it means to be a Catholic.
Every morning, the 200 students of WAC recite a No Taunting pledge with their morning prayers. I will do my part to make my community a safe place by being more sensitive to others, they say. I will not let my words or actions hurt others.
According Tigue, the No Taunting Pledge helps the school provide a safe environment. If the students are reminded of this pledge every single day, it helps put their minds at ease, he said, and when the students feel safe, their minds are open to learning and becoming the best person they can be.
Gilmartin said the theme for this year's Catholic Schools Week reinforces those objectives. Our goal is to teach these children that when they become adults, they can be the change, they can make a difference, she said. They can become leaders and peacemakers in the world while spreading the Word of God.
Wyoming Area Catholic will host an open house today, Sunday, January 27 from 1 to 3 p.m., and Holy Rosary will host an open house today from 12 to 2.
• Today, Jan. 27 – Open House, 1 to 3 p.m. The school community, current families and future families are invited to the Catholic Schools' Week Open House. Parents and Student Council representatives will conduct tours; administration and faculty will be present; school slide show in computer lab; students' work will be on display; light refreshments will be served.
• Monday, Jan. 28 – Morning Prayer Service, Trivia Day and Color Day. To begin the school week, students will gather in the main hallway at 7:50 a.m. to begin the day with a prayer service. Principal Tigue will lead the school community in prayer. Students may dress down in their assigned color of the day.
Pre-K and Grade 1 – Orange
Kindergarten and Grade 6 – Yellow
Grades 2 and 3 – Green
Grades 4 and 7 – Blue
Grades 5 and 8 - Red
Trivia game will be played by the school community in the afternoon.
• Tuesday, Jan. 29 – Team Day and Movie Day. Students may dress down to wear clothes to support their favorite team or they may wear their favorite spirit wear. In the afternoon, students will work on projects to express their appreciation to volunteers in the school and also enjoy a movie.
• Wednesday, Jan. 30 – Mismatched Day and Spelling Bee. Students may dress down in clothes that don't match or colors that clash; add a crazy hat to the outfit! Ice cream sundae treat at lunch. In the afternoon, the winners of the classroom spelling bee, grades 5-8, will participate in the school level spelling bee.
• Thursday, Jan. 31 – Spirit Day and Pep Rally. Students may dress down in their sport or club uniform or in blue and white or spirit wear to show school spirit. All students will attend a pep rally in the afternoon; feature presentation: 8th grade girls vs. eight grade boys in a basketball game.
Friday, Feb. 1 – Catholic Schools' Week Liturgy at 1 p.m. in St. Cecilia's Church of St. Barbara Parish.Fr. Elston will be the celebrant and 7th grade will be the presenters and lad us in prayers. Everyone is invited to attend. Students wear regular school uniforms. Teachers Appreciation Day: Luncheon for teachers.
• Today, Jan. 29 – All school families are urged to begin our Catholic Schools' Week celebration by praying at their home parishes. Then an Open House from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The school community, including parishioners of the feeder parishes, are urged to come see the students' work, visit with other school families. As always, the Liturgy will be celebrated at Nativity of Our Lord Parish, Holy Rosary Church, at 9:30 a.m.
• Monday, Jan., 28 – Movie Day. Students will enjoy a movie, popcorn and a drink, compliments the PTO.
• Tuesday, Jan. 29 – Annual Bake Sale, sponsored by the Fourth Grade will be held before, during, and after the lunch periods. Tuesday is also Team Shirt Day.
• Wednesday, Jan. 30 – Once again, the school has combined the Flea Market and the Nickel Candy Sale into a giant bazaar. Classes will visit the Flea Market according to the schedule sent home last week, and then to satisfy their sweet teeth, the Seventh Grade will sponsor a Nickel Candy Sale. Students may wear silly socks and crazy hats.
• Thursday, Jan. 31 – Gym Day featuring a volleyball game, and a Pep Rally for Grades PK – 8. Parents are welcome to come and enjoy the fun, play some volleyball, or sit with a class while a teacher plays. Gym Day is always a highlight of the week. Thursday is also School Spirit Day. All grades may wear blue and gold OR gym uniforms OR HRS sport jerseys.
• Friday, Feb. 1 – All are welcome for the First Friday Liturgy at 9a.m. Teachers and staff will serve as lectors, cantors, altar servers, and Eucharistic ministers, as prayers are offered for all the teachers and staff, religious and lay, who have served the school. There will be an ice cream social in the afternoon for Teacher/Student Appreciation Day. Friday is also Patriotism day when students are invited to wear red, white, and blue with their uniforms. One of the biggest highlights of the week, an evening enjoyed by families for generations, is the School Talent Show, held on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Holy Rosary School.
Cameras may be brought on any day of your choosing; however, cell phone cameras and cameras on electronic devices are not allowed. Further, no video may be taken during school hours.
Also during Catholic Schools Week, in thanksgiving for the religious priests, deacons, and sisters who minister to the school each day, and to show appreciation for their vocations, students will make cards and write letters, and a special treat will be delivered to the parishes in the area.