Each year one week is set aside for Catholic schools, their students, their faculties and staffs and their families to celebrate the good things about a Catholic education.
This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” According to the National Catholic Educational Association, this year’s theme supports promoting high academic standards and Catholic identity. The theme also supports the recent launch of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, that ensure the effective operation and responsible governance of Catholic schools across the country.
While all schools have incorporated the theme in some way, some have chosen special ways to promote the annual theme. Redemptorist Catholic School, for example, will feature a specific thing that the school seeks to “Raise the Standards” of, like the nation, its students and so on.
“The whole week we are encouraging our students to enjoy and partake in their Catholic education through the theme in different facets,” said Louis Cramer, principal of Redemptorist.
“But while we are acknowledging the spiritual side, we are also focusing on the positive and making it fun and upbeat for the children with things like the dress-up days and doing things for the community like our food and blanket collections.”
In Acadia Parish, though, each year’s Catholic Schools Week brings about two big events. First is today’s pro-life march and program at Notre Dame High School. Seventh and eighth graders from both Redemptorist and St. Michael will also attend.
“We will be bringing attention to the sanctity of life once again,” said Cindy Istre, principal of Notre Dame. “It is something we have done for many years now and is only part of our Catholic Schools Week schedule.
“All week we will be celebrating the difference a Catholic education makes in lives.”
Events are scheduled to begin at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday morning as students will leave the Notre Dame campus and head to St. Michael’s Church. At 11:20 a.m. Fr. Matthew Higginbotham will deliver the opening prayer followed by brief remarks about pro-life issues. The students will begin their march back to Notre Dame at 11:30 a.m. The pro-life program will be held from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. with guest speaker Paul George from Ragin’ Cajun Catholics and music by Shawn and Lance.
St. Michael hosts the other big event with its Faith Rally Friday morning. The school will also hold grandparents’ day Friday.
“St. Michael’s School joins with our sister Catholic schools throughout the nation to celebrate the wonderful things happening in Catholic schools. We will joyfully end our week with our 10th annual Faith Rally for our parents and grandparents,” said St. Michael School Principal Myra Broussard. “Every grade will get up and perform for the parents and grandparents a song or dance about faith. What makes it really special is this year’s eighth grade class is the first to have performed all 10 years as they were in pre-k when we started it.”
The four schools have a full schedule still ahead with various activities besides the annual march and program at Notre Dame Tuesday. The remaining schedule includes:
Tuesday - Notre Dame, Bible verse contest among students, pro-life march and program; St. Michael, student mass (presentation of teacher of the year); Redemptorist, “Raising the Standards in Our Vocations,” morning assembly/prayer service (Student Council’s winter apparel collection for the needy presentation, students’ talent–“Stick Drama”), favorite hat or cap day, penny war for library; and St. Francis, “Kick Up Your Heels and Tip Your Hats - Thank God for the Ability to do so” (boots and hats dress-up day).
Wednesday - Notre Dame, mass (announcement of teacher, student and supporter of the year after mass), game at lunch; St. Michael, Student Appreciation Day (treats for all); Redemptorist, “Raising the Standards in Our Students,” morning assembly/prayer service (Beta Club’s blanket collection for the needy presentation; students’ talent–slide show), favorite team jersey or T-shirt day (professional or local team), final day of penny war; and St. Francis, school mass with teachers participating (announcement of teacher, supporter and students of the year).
Thursday - Notre Dame, game at lunch, lunch for teachers by Campus Ministry; St. Michael, full rehearsal for Faith Rally; Redemptorist - “Raising the Standards in Our Community,” morning assembly/prayer service (4-H’s “Feed the Community” food drive presentation, students’ talent–“Adventures in American Song and Dance”), second nine weeks awards ceremony, free jean day and classroom treats; and St. Francis, morning prayer, “St. Francis Students Work Together as a Team to Raise the Standards of Catholic Education” (team sports dress-up day).
Friday - Notre Dame, announce winner(s) of Bible verse contest; St. Michael, 10th Annual Faith Rally “Celebrate Faith,” grandparents’ day celebration (features classroom visits, school tours and reception in library); Redemporist, “Raising the Standards in Our Faculty, Staff and Volunteers,” faculty leads First Friday Mass (no morning assembly, students’ talent–late afternoon pep rally); and St. Francis, rosary, pep rally (2 p.m. in gym), jeans and St. Francis T-shirt dress-up day.