“Tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life!” are the words Addie, a soon-to-be preschooler, said to her grandmother on the eve of her first day of school at a Catholic school. Her grandmother, Barbara Wine, principal at Presentation Academy, shared this story at a secondary principals’ meeting. Everyone immediately responded with smiles and laughter as they commented that it would be wonderful if all of us could approach every day with the same positive attitude.
The “rest of the story” is that Addie had such a wonderful first day that she would not take off the clothes she wore to school that day and planned to sleep in them.
We certainly want to create school environments where students are excited about being at school and learning. During Catholic Schools Week (January 26-February 1), we celebrate the wonderful experiences that students like Addie have every day in our Catholic schools.
The theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service. “ Visit any Catholic school and you will notice the spirit of camaraderie among students, teachers, and administrators. Catholic schools are a “community within a community” that unites people who share common values and goals as communities of faith. Ultimately a Catholic education should prepare students to be good stewards of God’s gifts and active people of faith who serve others, make a difference in the world, and participate in their faith and civic communities.
When Addie graduates from high school, she will join thousands of Catholic school graduates who, reflecting our mission statement for Catholic schools, “live their faith as maturing adults and provide Christian leadership for Church and society.” Each of them began school as Addie did with a first day full of possibility. Our commitment and challenge is to “form our students, and through them, transform our world in light of the Gospel message.” As that mission is realized, our Commonwealth will continue to benefit from the leadership of Catholic schools.
As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, let us give thanks for the many gifts of Catholic education and for the sacrifices of all who make a Catholic education possible for our students.