Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

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

Graduating eighth graders grateful for Catholic education, formation

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the May 22, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

School graduation is usually a time of bittersweet excitement. The graduates, poised for the next stage of their education, wistfully recall the years past and the fond memories of their classmates and activities.

It’s also a time of reflection, of recalling what is good about what they’re leaving behind. It’s a time of sharing those thoughts with the students coming up, letting them know that the education they are receiving is valuable.

Several eighth graders in Catholic schools in the Spokane area took time in their busy schedules to share their reflections about the education they received in Catholic schools.

Amanda’s letter – St. Mary

St. Mary School has taught me so much. I have learned everything from how to treat my friends with respect and kindness to diagramming a complex sentence. I have made many happy memories and would never trade them for the world. I am so grateful that my parents sent me to St. Mary. In going (there) I have come to know myself better as a person. I have become closer to God and have been able to build my relationship up with him and others.

Now that I will be going to a bigger high school, I am very nervous. But I know I will be able to get through it with my strong Catholic background. I am sure I will be able to resist any peer pressure that I might be faced with, thanks to the help of St. Mary’s religion classes. The fact that we at St. Mary are able to talk freely about God, pray and practice our faith with teachers, peers and parents is irreplaceable. I know that I have loved my nine years at St. Mary, and I hope others will get the privilege to experience it as well.

Amanda Connell

Stephanie’s letter – St. Mary

As graduation draws painfully near, I realize how much I’m going to miss the familiar, memorable environment that I’ve learned to love so much in the last five years.

The thought of going to such a large public school at the end of this summer is probably the most agonizing thing I’ve ever experienced. The overall environment will be so different and so unfamiliar. I can’t imagine having to grow up in any other school than St. Mary but in September, my academic atmosphere will change so much. I’ve been so lucky that past five years to experience such great peers, teachers and role models.

There are so many aspects that set Catholic schools apart from public schools. The freedom to talk with others, teachers and students together, about our religious is so liberating. The fact that we study our religious so in depth allows the school as a community to show compassion and generosity for everyone around us. The amount of concern the teachers, students and parent volunteers show for each other is so amazing. Everything about a Catholic school is compassionate. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to be in the company of such remarkable people. The chance to go do such an impressive school, and grow up with such admirable people, is something that I will thank God for, for the rest of my life.

Stephanie Smith

Ashley’s letter – Trinity

I’ll never forget my first day at Trinity School. My family had just moved from Tacoma to Spokane and my mom was pregnant and due any time. Trinity was only three blocks away from our house and my parents had called it a “Godsend” because they had always wanted my older sister and me to go to a Catholic school. I was entering first grade and my sister was going to be a seventh grader. The first day of school, I walked into the classroom, found my seat and immediately everyone was kind and welcoming. As I sat there, 300 miles away from all my relatives and old friends, I felt at home.

The years passed and each school year went by faster than the last. As those years went by, I received an excellent education, came to know and understand God better and built friendships to last a lifetime.

Today, eight years later, I am going to graduate in less than a month and I still remember looking up to all the older kids in admiration. Now I look at my little sister in first grade and all the younger children and see them looking up at me and the only advice that I have for them and for other children attending Catholic schools is to enjoy this special time when the world seems so innocent and life is simple. The people I’ve known and the things I’ve learned have been an inspiration to me and I know that I would not have as strong a faith if I hadn’t attended Trinity.

I am about to go from a school of 150 people to a school with 1,500. Am I scared? Of course, but I know the knowledge that I have been given in my years here will guide me through this difficult time. After I leave Trinity, the school will not be just another memory in the back of my mind, but will remain a part of me and a place where I can always return and be welcomed. I guess my parents were right; Trinity truly is a “Godsend.”

Ashley Delzell

Sean’s letter – Cataldo

Attending a Catholic school has meant a lot to me. When I was in the primary grades, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and my family and I needed a lot of support. This support we received from the families and teachers at my school, in overwhelming amounts. The religious aspect of the school gives us a solid foundation of faith upon which we a build the rest of our lives. The higher academic standards prepare us and challenge us to make educated decisions in everything from friendships and educations to career goals. I have formed close relationships with all my classmates. The students are given many chances to become one unified group because of smaller classes with the same homeroom and lots of prayer/retreat opportunities. A school with nine grades in one building gives a mentoring aspect to all grade levels, allowing younger grades to learn from upper classmen and older students nurturing the younger ones.

Some knowledge that I can pass on to incoming students is that Catholic schools will prepare you for life. Be ready for a demanding curriculum that will make you learn. Be ready to learn and love through Jesus Christ.

Sean Leonard

Riley’s Letter – Cataldo

Attending a Catholic school has meant many things to me. It has allowed me to do many things that would have been harder to do anywhere else. One of these things is friendship. Being in a classroom with the same kids has allowed me to get more in touch with people and get a sense of who they are as a person. Therefore, this has let me develop better and stronger friendships. Also, our school does many things to further get it’s kids involved in the community. Over the years I have participated in food and clothing drives, done community service projects and other events that give back to the community. They have, for the most part, been fun and interesting while staying in focus with their goal to help and love those around us. Finally, at a Catholic School, I’ve received a great education that has helped and will continue to help me when I enter high school.

There are a few words of advice that I would like to pass on to incoming students. First, always approach new kids and talk with them. Two of my best friends were new just last year and because I tried to get to know them, my life is now a lot more fun and happy. Second, work hard on your studies because the better you do, the higher you’ll start in high school and college. I’m not saying that all work and no play is the way to go but don’t watch T.V. for two hours and forget to do half an hour of homework. Finally, don’t wait until the last minute to do long term projects. They’re not worth staying up and rushing to get done. Take your time from the moment you get the assignment and don’t fall behind on time.

Riley Owens

St. Paschal eighth graders wrote letters to the school’s kindergartners and parents:

Riley’s letter – St. Paschal

I am very grateful that you have taken the opportunity to look into St. Paschal School. I have attended this school since kindergarten and have been in the parish since before I was even born. I feel this is the greatest school in the world.

As your child takes his or her first steps into many years of education, you can feel reassured that this family community is one of a kind and ready to help your child succeed. The family atmosphere is such a heart-warming experience, I am sure you will enjoy it. We embrace you with open arms and hope to see you next year.

Riley Bundy

Veronica’s letter – St. Paschal

This school has been a great experience for me. I came here in first grade and was welcomed and accepted which was a great feeling. Parents here have many chances to meet other parents and become new friends. The teachers are very caring and they don’t show favoritism; they treat their students as equals. It will not be a mistake to send your very own child here.

Veronica Ballard

Amy’s letter – St. Paschal

I have many, many wonderful and long-lasting memories at St. Paschal School. All of the teachers are great and have hope and faith in all that we do. My religion teacher, Mr. Schultz, had challenged all of our class to follow Christ and his teachings, which I found very important. I love this school so much and I bet you will, too.

Amy Shields

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