Catholic Schools Week
Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated nationally Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. Sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association, the week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States.
The Diocese of Burlington and Dioceses throughout New England participated in a Catholic Schools week in the fall to boost awareness of Catholic education in New England. Having the celebration in the fall — with its usually less inclement weather — gave families more time to make enrollment decisions.
However, there will be some special activities in Vermont during the traditional last-week-of-January celebration.
At The Bishop John A. Marshall School in Morrisville, “Catholic Spirit Week” will be celebrated because its Catholic Schools Week took place in the fall. Activities will include a GeoBee competition, dress-up days, music, games and sledding.
“We strive to plan and organize events during our Catholic Schools Week that will be engaging to all of our families and students. We want to celebrate that we are a unique and different school,” said Jennifer Nordenson, vice principal/director of enrollment and marketing. “By creating fun and out-of-the-ordinary events for the week, we create a celebration-type feel in our school community.”
Posting photos and videos of these fun events on the social media pages shows the local community some of the fun events we have beyond our academics. “Sort of debunks the myth that Catholic schools are no fun, strict, etc.,” she said.
The school includes service projects during Catholic Schools Week; that was the primary focus for the Catholic Schools Week in November. “Including the service projects really emphasizes our Catholicity and spreading the Gospel message of helping others in need,” Nordenson said.
At St. Monica-St. Michael School in Barre, Catholic Schools Week was celebrated in the fall, and Principal Brenda Buzzell said special events like Grandparents/Special Friends’ Day, visiting community members and a variety show were opportunities to showcase the school. “It also allows folks to see how respectful, self confident and welcoming our Catholic school students are,” she said. “SMSM is growing and rebuilding so any opportunity to get us in the public will help. We have dedicated teachers and a wonderful group of students who love sharing the school with others.”
At Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, the fall Catholic Schools Week included an open house, a faculty/senior volleyball game and dress-down days.
“Families choose Rice because they are seeking a high school experience centered on academic excellence, service and the exploration of faith,” said Christy Bahrenburg, director of advancement. “Students are bolstered by a nurturing community whose goal it is to see that each one of them lives up to their God-given potential.”
The fall observance of Catholic Schools Week at Christ the King School in Burlington included celebrating community, students, the nation, vocations and faculty and staff. There was a family lunch and a pep rally among the festivities, and care packages were made for Vermont troops.
“All of these events send the message that we are a strong school community and family that gets its strength and purpose from our mission as a Catholic school; we appreciate the support of our parents, parish and benefactors; and we love contributing to the wider community,” said Jon Hughes, director of admissions and school advancement.
Likewise, Mater Christi School in Burlington celebrated in the fall with a variety of activities. Amanda Barone, assistant head of school, said many focused on the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy who founded the school. These concerns are the Earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism and women.
“Families chose Mater Christi for the values centered experience, the high academic standards, the sense of community and the Sisters of Mercy,” she said.
Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week. Schools typically observe the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to the Church, local communities and the nation.