Schools throughout the Diocese of Palm Beach celebrated excellence in Catholic education during Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 26-Feb. 1. The 17 diocesan schools took this week to showcase the special qualities that make them Something Greater in leading the future of the Catholic faith. Here are just a few snapshots of how schools celebrated during Catholic Schools Week.
Caring for God’s Creation
Celebrations at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School in Boca Raton centered on the theme of "Caring for God's Creation – National Parks." The National Junior Honor Society made videos of each national park in the U.S., including a corresponding bible quote to illustrate a call to stewardship of God’s creation. They then presented this project to the student body. In addition, classes paired up to create national park posters to display inside classrooms and around campus.
The end of Catholic Schools Week culminated in STREAM Day (Science Technology Religion Engineering and Math). Students visited various classrooms throughout the day to lead discussions on caring for God's creation. They also joined in on a national parks scavenger hunt around the school field, using their iPads to answer questions about various parks. They participated in a demonstration about ocean pollution, followed by a lesson on birds and their habitats.
A Day of Kindness
Students, faculty and staff at Sacred Heart School in Lake Worth participated in a Day of Kindness during Catholic Schools Week. Students spent time during their Religion classes discussing what kindness means to them and what character traits they value and appreciate. Each student was given a slip of paper that listed another student’s name and the phrase, “I value you because. . .” Each student wrote what they valued about the student whose name was on the card. Some of the comments on the card were, “I value you because you put a smile on other peoples’ faces;” “I value you because you like to help people;” and “I value you because you always try to do the right thing.”
When students arrived at school in the morning, the cards lined the path to their classes. Everyone had the opportunity to read the kind things that were said about them throughout the day. Some comments were read over the intercom after morning prayer and announcements.
Social Studies teacher Lamara Davis, shared, “The Day of Kindness was an awesome experience that allowed the entire school to focus on the good we see in each other. This small gesture brought smiles to the faces of so many.”
Second grade student Christie Dieujuste, said, “I liked doing this day of kindness because it was kind and it made me feel good.”
Tricia Duvall, interim principal, said, “Quite often, everyone is so busy that we rarely stop to share with people the good we see, observe, and appreciate in them.”
Reaching Out to the Community
Students at St. Juliana Catholic School in West Palm Beach had the opportunity to give back to the community through a toiletry drive for the Social Outreach Ministry. They collected baby wipes, dental floss, lip balm, hand sanitizer, shaving cream, shampoo, mouthwash, sunscreen, deodorant, combs, and toothbrushes and toothpaste. This ministry creates a platform for students to strengthen their faith and relationship with God and walking the path of Jesus. By playing an active role and participating, they share and connect with their peers and others around them. Lynella Tarantino and Lisi Noalles, both eighth grade students, said, "We are so happy to be giving these things to our community and we love helping those in need."
Welcoming Future Catholic Students
Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach hosted an Open House Breakfast to showcase the school’s academic, extracurricular and faith-centered opportunities in Catholic education. Eighth grade students from surrounding feeder schools were invited to attend the breakfast to learn more about the local Catholic high school before graduating from middle school. Cardinal Newman High School students gave their testimonial about the school and what it means for them to have been a part of a Catholic education.
Sophomore Arisabelle Pierre-Paul shared, “One of the things I love about Cardinal Newman High School is that every student is given the opportunity to immerse themselves in student activities while receiving a premiere education and the preparation needed for college and beyond.” Junior Donald Webster said, “Cardinal Newman High School’s close-knit family atmosphere truly ensures the success of each and every student.”
Honoring Those Who Protect and Serve
All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter celebrated the community and nation during Catholic Schools Week. Students made stars in honor of family and friends who are members of the police and fire departments, veterans, or active military. These stars were placed on the four pillars of honor in the school lobby, and classes took a moment of prayer to honor all those who serve the community and nation. The school also purchased a flag in honor of the Jupiter Police Department through the Ladies of the American Revolution program. This flag will fly over Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. on Flag Day and, afterwards, will be sent to the Jupiter Police Department with a Certificate of Honor.
Appreciating Priests and Religious
Chris Francello, a teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Stuart, coordinated third grade students to write “thank you” cards to the priests and religious at St. Lucie Catholic Church. “They came up with many excellent and thoughtful reasons why they were thankful for having priests in their lives,” said Francello. “The one thing that stood out to me was how really thankful they were for the priests who celebrate Mass because without them they would not be able to receive the Body of Christ. They also realize how hard the priests work visiting and comforting the sick, very insightful for third graders!”
Passing on the Faith Through Family
John Carroll High School in Fort Pierce commemorated Catholic Schools Week with a Grandparents’ Day Mass for the school community. Senior Elizabeth Kenney and sophomore Amy Kenney attend with their grandmother, Betty Sicard. When asked about her opportunity to attend Mass with her granddaughters, Sicard replied, “John Carroll High School does a wonderful job fostering the gifts of family and faith, and I am proud that my grandchildren have all attended Catholic school.
Senior Michael Russo and sophomore Cayli Russo were thrilled that their grandparents Bob and Terri were able to attend. "The Grandparents' Day Mass was a wonderful gathering of students and their families as we worshipped together. There is truly a family feeling at John Carroll High School and we, along with our grandchildren, are glad to be a part of it."
Junior Christian Negherbon celebrated the day with both sets of grandparents. Bud and Linda Johnson shared, “We enjoyed spending the time with our grandson and being part of the day.” John and Madeline Negherbon said, “It is an honor to be part of our grandson’s life at this wonderful Catholic high school.”
To learn more about the 17 diocesan Catholic schools in the Diocese of Palm Beach, follow the Office of Catholic Schools on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @DoPBCatholicSchools or by visiting diocesepbschools.org.