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
Catholic Schools: ‘Making a World of Difference’
by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff
(From the Jan. 16, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)
The 13th annual Catholic Schools Week will be observed Jan. 26-Feb. 1 this year. The theme: “Making a World of Difference.”
Most of the 18 schools in the Spokane Diocese have special activities planned.
A highlight will be Breakfast with the Bishop at Gonzaga University Tuesday, Jan. 28. Eating breakfast with Bishop Skylstad that day will be one student and family, and one teacher, from each school. A prayer service is also part of the event.
Plans were still being finalized at press time but a Teacher of the Year award will be presented at the breakfast, the first year for such an award to be given.
The breakfast is being arranged bythe Office of Education at Gonzaga University.
Catholic Schools Week focuses a spotlight on the many facets of diocesan schools. Each day of the special week highlights a different aspect of Catholic education: the community, the parish, teachers, volunteers, students and the nation.
Schools offer special attention to these different groups during the week by inviting parents, teachers or volunteers to a special lunch or presenting them with small gifts. Many schools also plan charitable works during the week.
Not all schools had plans completed by press time. Following is a partial list:
• All Saints, Spokane: Students will decorate their halls, make banners and posters for all three of their schools’ participating parishes, make bookmarks for parishioners, spotlight the school band at a concert and take part in an all-school Mass.
The school is also planning an adults-only mixer and dance on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. in the St. Peter Parish gym. Parishioners and parents are invited to this evening of fun; tickets are $5 at the door.
• Cataldo, Spokane: “Go Light Up Your World” is the school’s theme song for the week. Each day has a special focus. Sunday, Jan. 26, is parish and priest appreciation day. Students will be speakers and singers at Masses that day and will serve coffee and doughnuts in all their parishes. They will also make cards for their priests. Monday, Jan. 27, is Volunteer Appreciation Day and students will make cards for their class aides.
Students will enjoy themselves Wednesday, Jan. 29, by being able to wear what they want to school and having no homework. On Thursday, Jan. 30, families will be asked to pray together for Catholic schools and for families around the world. At Mass, the Distinguished Graduate will be announced.
Friday, Jan. 31, is Cataldo Spirit Day. Students will have another free-dress day and can wear crazy hats. A pep assembly is planned and each grade will give a performance using the theme song.
• Guardian Angel-St. Boniface, Colton-Uniontown: Activities will focus on the theme “Catholic — Caring — Community.” Students will participate in Mass to be celebrated in Colton on Sunday, Jan. 26; they will write compositions about the difference that Catholic education makes in their lives; and they will enjoy hot lunch each day during the week, sponsored by a different parish or school organization. Students will also do service activities in their communities of Colton and Uniontown and participate in dress-up days, games and contests.
• Holy Family, Clarkston: The school will hold a book fair in conjunction with Catholic Schools Week. It will also be Spirit Week, with such events as Mad Hair Day.
Another high point in the week will be the school dance for all families. One school parent couple are local radio disc jockeys and they will provide the talk and the tunes from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29. Staff members will sell “walking tacos,” which are portable little bags filled with chips, chili, sour cream and salsa. Students will end the week with Mass Sunday, Feb. 2, and the Knights of Columbus Council will host a sausage dinner that day.
Holy Family students have put a special emphasis on community service this school year. They will be giving special attention to a local senior living facility.
• St. Aloysius, Spokane: Among its plans, the school will have grandparent and special friend appreciation day and a student-directed talent show.
• St. John Vianney, Spokane: On the uncompleted list of activities for the week is a liturgy on Tuesday, Jan. 28, that will focus on St. Thomas Aquinas.
• St. Mary, Spokane: Students will attend Masses Sunday, Jan. 26, wearing their uniforms. On Monday, Jan. 27, they will enjoy a breakfast served to them by their teachers and the Knights of Columbus.
The student council will have a kick-off presentation and students will make thank-you cards, prayer cards and bookmarks.
Students will present the cards they made to school volunteers on Tuesday, Jan. 28, and prayer the rosary for them. Community outreach to the homeless is the focus for Wednesday, Jan. 29, and a speaker will come from the Valley Community Center.
A school Mass is planned for Thursday, Jan. 30, and students will make valentines for veterans. A surprise for teachers is planned Friday, Jan. 31.
• St. Paschal, Spokane: Students will start the week by attending Mass Sunday, Jan. 26. They will participate in a variety of activities such as “Switch Teacher” Day, games, a “read-in” and an all-school movie day.
• St. Patrick, Pasco — The Catholic schools in the Tri-Cities join for an annual all-schools Mass which will be held at 10:30 a.m Friday, Jan. 31, at St. Joseph in Kennewick. Both St. Patrick and Tri-Cities Prep schools will participate with Yakima Diocese Catholic schools of Kennewick and Richland.
• St. Patrick, Spokane: The week’s observance will be similar to last year. Students will start the week at Masses in their respective parishes and will organize a meal for parishioners to enjoy. They will have spirit activities during the week, such as green and white day and crazy hat day. Grandparents and other special guests will be invited to lunch.
There are more than 8,000 Catholic schools across the nation, which educate 2.6 million children from kindergarten through high school. The diocese has 16 schools and two private high schools, with 4,164 students enrolled this current school year.
Enrollment is down about four percent, giving school officials additional challenges as they address the reasons for the decline. According to information from the diocesan superintendent’s office, among the major factors are the sluggish economy and loss of jobs.
As well as addressing this “really big challenge of enrollment and finances,” diocesan school superintendent Duane Schafer said his office has a long list of projects to meet school needs. His office provides staff and curriculum development at the local level, along with faith formation and programs in a number of other areas. One of those is the popular Border Crossings program for all school staff members.
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