From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Big plans are in the works for Catholic Schools Week celebration

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Jan. 18, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

Catholic Schools Week will be observed throughout the United States from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2 to focus on the special role Catholic education plays in the lives of its students. The nearly 6,000 students and staff members of the 18 schools in the Spokane Diocese will join in that observance and are planning special activities at their schools. Though not all schools had plans finalized by press time, many had set a busy schedule for the celebration week.

Assumption School has a theme: “Act justly; love tenderly; and walk humbly with your God,” taken from the Old Testament Book of Micah. Principal Sonia Flores-Davis said the week has a dual purpose: “to celebrate who we are and to have an opportunity to thank all those involved in Catholic education.”

Appreciation days are scheduled throughout the week. Students, staff and volunteers will be honored, each group on a separate day. On Student Appreciation Day, students can choose the clothes they wear to school. They will also receive ice cream treats and chocolate milk. On Staff Appreciation Day school parents will prepare a luncheon for the 35 people who make up the staff. The largest group is the school’s volunteers. An open house with refreshments will be held to honor their contribution, and each volunteer will be given a token of appreciation.

The eighth grade students at Assumption will compose speeches, Flores-Davis said, using either the week’s theme or addressing why Catholic schools are important to them. They will give the speeches to fellow students and to the community since “witnessing to our faith proclaims who we are and what we’re about.”

The observance at St. Aloysius will kick off with the 11 a.m. Mass Monday, Jan. 29. Students will be encouraged to wear their red uniform sweatshirts to demonstrate the presence of their school in the parish. On Friday, students can invite a special person — a parent, grandparent, or special friend — to school. The school holds a picnic on blankets in the gym, and everyone enjoys sack lunches. School is dismissed early and the students can leave with their special guests. An all-school activity that involves all the students is also in the works.

Cataldo School honors a different group each school day, giving special thanks to each for their support of the school. Teachers, students, volunteers, parents, and members of the three parishes that support the school will receive special notes or treats on their day. “It’s a time,” said development director Tammy Tracy, “to recognize the good things that happen in our schools.”

At St. Paschal School, students will begin the week by participating in the 10 a.m. Mass Sunday, Jan. 28. They will decorate their school on Monday and then dress as their favorite celebrity or sports hero (though in appropriate dress for school) on Tuesday. Students will honor the staff Wednesday and then give them a bit of a break by watching movies in their classrooms in the afternoon.

Creativity is called forth on Thursday for “Mismatch Day” when students can “mismatch” the clothes they wear to school. Friday is “Wacky Hair Day” when students can wear their hair however they choose — but no dye, please!

All Saints School also chose a theme for their observance of Catholic Schools Week: “We are the Light of the World: Thank You for Helping Us to Shine.” Students are already at work on essays or pictures that show how their school has helped them “shine their light to the world.” The pictures and essays are assembled into a newsletter which is given to parents and parishioners.

Students lead the celebration of Mass at the school’s three supporting parishes the weekend of Jan. 27-28 to show their gratefulness. Students will wear their uniforms, serve as ushers, do the readings, and host coffee and doughnuts at the morning Masses. Each parishioner will be given a thank-you gift made by the students.

Spirit Week takes over at the school buildings during the week with special activities at lunchtime each day. Students will decorate the halls with a special theme and color, earning points for their efforts and maybe a prize! An all-school Mass will be celebrated Thursday, Feb 1.

Hot lunch will be served every day at Guardian Angel School in Colton/Uniontown. This is a treat for students since they normally bring their lunches to school. An open house for parents, relatives and friends is set for Tuesday, Jan. 30, and students’ school work and art projects will be on display.

Students will end the week Friday, Feb. 2, with a celebration of Mass. Principal Tami Druffel said the observance is a “wonderful opportunity to unite and celebrate who we are in providing a Catholic education.”

At Assumption School in Walla Walla, students get to wear their favorite sweatshirts on Monday, welcome their families at an open house on Tuesday, wear their nice dress-up clothes for Mass on Wedesday, and host their parents or other guests at hot lunch on Friday. Some special people, such as Sister Sharon Bongiorno of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, parish administrator at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, will be invited to come in Friday and read to the students.

Assumption students connect the observance of Catholic Schools Week with the upcoming “100 Ways in 100 Days” celebration. “Only we call it 100 Ways in Five Days,” said school principal Michelle Acock.

The “100” celebration marks the 100th day of the school year. Students gather and contribute 100 of various items to agencies in need of support: baby items Monday, toilet paper and kleenex Tuesday, pasta and rice Wednesday, soap and shampoo Thursday and on Friday, soup, tuna, peanut butter, and store-bought jelly. The baby items are given to BirthRight of Walla Walla and the other items are distributed to local organizations through the Catholic Charities office in the city. Doing the “100 Ways in Five Days” during Catholic Schools Week, Acock said, helps emphasize the value that Catholics give to helping others which is an important component of a Catholic education.

Two dioceses converge in the Tri-Cities with three parishes. The three parishes and their schools, which includes St. Patrick in Pasco in the Spokane Diocese, will celebrate for Mass together Friday, Feb. 2. It will be held at Christ the King Parish in Richland, which has the largest facility but is located in the Diocese of Yakima. Everyone is welcome to attend, but take note there is standing room only.

Tentative plans at Tri-Cities Prep High School involve the parents decorating their students’ lockers Monday and giving them small surprises of “encouragement and affirmation,” said teacher Pat Wilson. On Tuesday, students will spend one period writing a letter to a person or group who has made a difference in the student’s life. Teachers will be thanked on Wednesday for their hard work and dedication. Students can also choose what they will wear to school. An impromptu talent show is planned for Thursday.

Students at Holy Family School in Clarkston are writing essays on the advantages of attending Catholic school. The essays will be displayed starting Monday of Catholic Schools Week. A kick-off assembly is also planned. On Tuesday diocesan superintendent of schools Duane Schafer comes to school. A Family Fun Night will be held Wednesday in the school gym, with games, including a community volleyball game, cards and snacks.

A Reflection Day is set for Thursday, and volunteers will be honored at the First Friday Mass. Students will participate in the 10:30 a.m. Mass Feb. 4, to be followed by a Book Fair and the Knights of Columbus sausage dinner. Principal Sharon Clizer said Catholic schools “need to be visible in the community. Catholic Schools Week is a wonderful vehicle in which to share our values and successes and to celebrate with the whole community in which we live. Promoting awareness often increases enrollment and becomes a tool for evangelization.”

Holy Family students also take part in the “100 Ways in 100 Days,” with each student collecting 100 pennies, which will be given to charity.

Information from the National Catholic Educational Association states that Catholic Schools Week was started in 1974 to focus attention on the values and strengths of a Catholic education. “The purpose is to build community awareness of and involvement in Catholic schools. It also celebrates the high standards of excellence of education....” Parents send their children to Catholic school for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is that “it is education for a Christian life.”

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