Catholic Schools Week, the annual observance that will be launched this weekend at parishes around the neighborhood, promotes more than just open enrollment for prospective students. This year's agenda includes furthering the parents' involvement in their childrens' educational needs.
Many parish schools will be hosting Open Houses following Sunday morning Mass on January 29 to kick off the week's events. The Open House gives parents the opportunity outside of their busy workweek to inquire as to how a Catholic School education can benefit their children. Some events throughout the week will take place during after school hours so that working parents can also find time to attend the activities.
Cynthia Duggan, principal of St. Ann School, emphasizes the importance of parents' involvement in the child's education.
"Catholic Schools Week enables parents to see the children's progress and commitment to their education," Duggan says. "It also allows for the parents to come to the school and physically see what their child has been involved in throughout the school year. Our goal is to show parents that the faculty, students, and volunteers are all concerned with what we can do for each other, our school, and our community."
Ellen Leary, principal at St. Brendan School, agrees that Catholic Schools Week "is not just about recruitment, but how a Catholic education can contribute to moral and character development for students.
"It's so important to include a quality education with personal growth, and that the parents get involved with that, also," adds Leary.
Much excitement is brewing for the largely anticipated Quiz Bowl, in which St. Gregory's students will defend their championship against peers from St. Ann, St. Brendan, and St. Mark's schools. Students in grades 4-8 will be tested on their knowledge of religion, history, and current events.
"It's great to get our students involved with other Catholic Schools in the area," says Margaret Donovan, principal of St. Gregory School. "It makes for a good competitive spirit. We've been defending champions for a few years now."
Other events organized by various schools during the week include bake sales, book fairs, talent shows, and hot dog days. For students in the lower grades, St. Matthew School is hosting a Green Eggs and Ham breakfast to incorporate the importance of reading in early education. Duggan, says "the week's goal is to incorporate learning with the Catholic religion, and have fun doing it."
Events are organized around the theme of promoting character, compassion, and values visible through tolerance among students, faculty, and parents.