Many choices for primary and secondary education exist in modern society. Advocates for Catholic schools — parents, teachers, administrators and the students themselves — often sacrifice much for the opportunity to achieve an academic foundation that’s not only challenging but faith-based, from grade school through high school. In this issue of Today’s Catholic, they share why they value Catholic education.
Owen Hilger: 9th grade; Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne
“I like having crosses and things around the school, it keeps me in the mindset of prayer all the time. I go to the Decade Club before lunch. All the teachers are all in the same boat, so you can communicate with them very easily and ask them questions about what Catholics believe about something, like evolution in biology.”
Alexis Converset: 4th grade; St. Joseph, Decatur
“I like that you learn religion and memorize the 10 Commandments in fourth grade.”
Carol Draeger Thomas: Principal; Our Lady of Hungary, South Bend
“What the beauty of Catholic education is, it’s basically a marriage between faith and academics. They both go hand in hand and both enrich each other in a philosophical but deeper manner. What I love about being here is I can wear my Catholicism on my sleeve, so it permeates everything I do. So you’re helping students grow in their faith, but in their academics as well.
“We teach them to always go to God. Go to God for your strength, for your gratitude, and if you go there, He will listen. We’re so lucky because in the Catholic schools, we teach them the faith life and the value of our Gospels. That’s what’s going to carry them over in their entire life.”
Christian Lozada: 8th grade; Queen of Angels, Fort Wayne
“In our Catholic education, the religion teacher, Mrs. Meyer, is very helpful; she gives us a lot of information about our religion, even to the ones who aren’t Catholic. I also like that the teachers, like Mrs. Frey, help out kids in need, that don’t understand the lesson we’re on. I like practicing our faith every day.”
Brian Baker: Principal; St. Joseph, Decatur
“Catholic education is the lifeline of the parish. The parish supports the school, but the school supports the parish because these are their future parishioners. What sets Catholic education apart is the children’s ability to pray for each other, receive their sacraments and learn the teachings of the Catholic faith. It’s ingrained in daily education; it makes a difference.”
Liam Post: 5th grade; St. John the Evangelist, Goshen
“I like that we do this thing called ‘Reading Counts.’ It gives me something to really work towards and has helped my grades. I also like the teachers. Since most of them are Catholic, we can really talk about our faith with them. And our friends; we can talk about our faith with them freely. And there’s not a ton of Catholic schools all over the world. We’re very lucky to have one in Goshen.”
Paul Morgan: 6th grade; St. Joseph, Decatur
“The most important thing about Catholic school is that we get to go to church every Tuesday and Friday.”
Brigid Frey: Language arts teacher; Queen of Angels, Fort Wayne
“I appreciate the small, family atmosphere. Whether it’s the students or parents or the awesome staff you get to work with, everyone is close-knit. Queen of Angels has been my second family now for 23 years. Working here has really helped a lot because I’ve been through so much. It was a godsend; working around faith-filled people and family; people that are willing to go above, even the students.”
Dezmond Armenakis: 7th grade; Our Lady of Hungary, South Bend
“I like that the teachers make me feel comfortable. They work one-on-one with you, they help you. Here the teachers show that they care. They have a good vibe. I have a lot of friends and two cousins here. Everybody’s family here.”
Elias Hilger: 11th grade; Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne
“I appreciate the ability to pray, obviously, and also to develop relationships with my teachers. I know I can rely on them, go to them with my questions and they’re a good example. They teach more than just the subjects that they’re in. I feel like Dwenger provides a lot of opportunities, like the chapel. Every time before lunch there’s Decade Club, and I like to go to that and pray before we eat.”
Jimena Guerro: 5th grade; St. John the Evangelist, Goshen
“I like all of our teachers. And I read all the books here. I like the church, and instead of just going to Sunday Mass, I go to Wednesday and Friday Mass at school.”
Nelda Vega: Mother of three at Our Lady of Hungary, South Bend
“Catholic education is very important to me. I just love the faith and the Catholic community and how strong our faith is in the Catholic religion. I have three kids; it’s pretty much my whole family there, all my little cousins. I had my kids at Our Lady of Hungary and told all my cousins about it and they took their kids out of public schools and put them there. I love how they work with students one-on-one; they have more time with them. Also, they learn about God and the Virgin Mary, and they get to pray.
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