What is it about Catholic Schools? When parents visit Our Lady of Lourdes School they often ask us to convince them that they should send their children to Lourdes instead of Bethesda Elementary School or other nearby public elementary schools. They might ask about academic rigor and standardized test scores, curriculum standards and textbooks, maybe even teaching credentials. We can mention that Lourdes was one of only eight schools in the state to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2015. We can use a chart that shows that our test scores are very high, and we can point to the incredible work our teachers do, and their advanced degrees. Those of us who believe in and work in Catholic schools are happy to match these criteria with neighboring public schools, but the statistics and the numbers don’t tell the story
All of those good scores, those dedicated teachers, those amazing high school and college acceptances that we can show you won’t guarantee you that your choice to send your child to Catholic school is the right one. You might ask, “Why would anyone spend money on a good education when they can get the same thing for free right down the street?” That’s where the confusion comes in!
Every morning the students of Lourdes, their teachers, staff and many parents come together in the school gym. When the first bell rings, I lift the microphone, and 280 children become completely quiet. They remain quiet and attentive while their friends and classmates announce lost teeth, visiting grandparents, soccer game scores, and lost dogs. When we finish announcements, 280 children - yes, even the three-year-olds - stand still with their hands folded while we pray together. After prayers, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Saint of the Day, hands start to go up again. A four-year-old tells us he sees the Face of God in his big brother, who always lets him play. A fifth grade girl with Down Syndrome tells us every morning that she sees the Face of God in her little brother, and every morning he breaks into a huge smile. Today, one of the boys saw the Face of God in his big brother who gave his seat to an elderly man on the bus. At the end of our morning assembly I can remind the children that God has given us the day as a gift, and we are expected to make the most of it. Then, at the end of the day, I can remind the children to get on their knees and thank God for the gift of this day - the challenges and the victories we experienced.
That’s it right there. A Lourdes education and a public school education are not even close to the same thing. Every lesson we learn, every message we send, every encounter we have has its foundation in our faith. We believe that we must look for the Face of God in one another, and that it’s easy to see the wonder and power of God in the people and the world around us. We are keeping the children of Lourdes in this world, but safe from the messages of this world while they are children, we want them to remain children. We want them to be innocent, faith-filled, kind, and loving children so that they will grow up to change what’s so wrong in the world today. They will take their God-given gifts into the world, and they will know who they are and what they believe, and that will make all the difference.
As a general rule, teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say. Anon.
Dates to Remember:
Dates to Remember:
25 Report Cards available online
26 Mass at Noon
28 Catholic Schools Week Mass, 9:00 am
29 Middle School Science Fair, 6:00 pm
30 Open House, 9:30 am-11:30 am, 1:00 pm-2:30pm
31 Faculty Appreciation Lunch, 11:30 am-1:00 pm
1 Student Appreciation Day
2 First Friday Mass 9am
Early Dismissal 12:10
Super Bowl Pizza Bingo Family Fundraiser, 6 pm
5 Testing begins
9 Mass at Noon
Re-enrollment deadline in TADS
11 Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
13 Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper, 6:00pm
14 Ash Wednesday, Mass at 9am
15 Spelling Bee Talent Show, 6:30pm
16 Mass at 9am
Dismissal at 12:10pm
19 NO SCHOOL - Presidents’ Day
23 Mass at Noon
27 Class & Club Picture Day
Mrs. McGann, Principal
OLOL Wednesday Words by Patricia McGann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.