Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It begins the last Sunday in January, which in 2017 is Jan. 29 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 4. The theme for Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” During Catholic Schools Week, schools across the Diocese, and across the country, mark the occasion with Masses and special entertainment and activities for the students, families, parishioners and members of their extended communities. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and the school’s contributions to the church, communities and the nation.
How Is Catholic Schools Week Celebrated on Long Island?
On Long Island, Catholic Elementary Schools celebrate the week with Masses and open houses to thank parents and parishioners, and to introduce new families to the benefits of a Catholic education. These frequently kick off with a Mass and open house on the first Sunday (but can be held early, as St. Patrick in Huntington is doing theirs on Thursday the 26th) and a series of events designed to recognize the contributions of students, parents and faculty during the course of the week. Many schools offer additional open houses and opportunities to visit during the week as well.
Catholic schools are unique in many significant ways, and Catholic Schools Week highlights many of those differences. First, Catholic education acknowledges the parents as the original teachers in each of our lives and celebrates the continued and ongoing involvement of parents in their child’s education, and with their child’s school. Catholic education is not a ‘bystander sport’ for parents, and their participation and service to their child’s education, and as part of the community that supports all of the students, is celebrated with recognition and acknowledgment events to thank them for their commitment.
Catholic Schools Week is also a week to acknowledge the teachers and administrators from the schools who give so much of themselves because they believe in the value of a Catholic education. The teachers’ and staff’s contributions are often recognized through special breakfasts and luncheons that are often prepared by, and served by grateful parents.
And Catholic Schools Week is a highlight on every student’s calendar. There are interactive game shows, magic shows, animal acts, special guests who come and read to the students, science fairs, book fairs, father-daughter dances, sports competitions, faculty—student contests and more.
Catholic Schools Week is also the best opportunity for families who might be considering the benefits of a Catholic education to experience firsthand the commitment to academic excellence and faith formation in your local school. There you’ll find a unique community environment where children are surrounded by other children, families and a parish which serve to reinforce moral values and beliefs. The open houses are an opportunity to meet the highly experienced teachers, see the creative classrooms, and learn how Catholic elementary schools leverage technology across the curriculum, and throughout the school. Prospective families tour the facilities, are introduced to the innovative reading and math programs that accelerate academic achievement, and get to see how the safe, loving, supportive and orderly environment in a Catholic school makes it the perfect environment to support learning.
As many of the touring parents have said, the best part of the visit during Catholic Schools Week is being able to see and feel the difference that a value-centered education can make for every child. This is frequently reinforced by the contact prospective families have with the seventh- and eighth-grade students, most often as tour guides. When you see the confident, caring and courteous individuals these young men and women have become, you begin to really understand the Catholic school difference.
Visit licatholicelementaryschools.org for more information, including links to schools and events.