The students at OLOL in grades 3-8 were asked to write an essay for our Catholic Schools Week Essay Contest. The resulting essays were remarkable and the judging was difficult because there were so many deserving students. The essay winners and honorable mentions are here for you to read and enjoy. Read all about "Why we love our school"!
Why I Love Lourdes
Kylie Squire, 8th Grade
Winner - 6th to 8th Grade Category
Our Lady of Lourdes is a unique school where everyone is welcome. Everyone here is a big family, and Lourdes is our second home. No matter who you are, where you come from, or if you learn differently, everyone at Lourdes will accept you. We don’t bring people down because they’re different, we celebrate it. At Lourdes, we don’t have cliques. We don’t say you can’t play with us or eat lunch with us. We are all friends. We all know each other’s names, no matter what the grade difference is. The teachers at Lourdes actually care about you. When they ask about your day, they want to know the answer. They demand excellence from you but know you can’t get there by yourself. Our teachers won’t throw us into the deep end without giving us a flotation device. They will be with you every step of the way and encouraging you to keep going. No community will care for you as much as Lourdes does for us.
The classes at Lourdes are rigorous, but manageable, and will leave you well prepared for the future. At Lourdes, we not only grow academically but also spiritually. We learn what it means to be good stewards of God’s creation and how we should treat each other. We are taught that the world is a gift from God that we must respect, and we are all given different gifts that we are meant to share with others. Lourdes also helps us grow personally. We learn to be leaders, not followers, and be the change we want to see. When our journey at Lourdes comes to an end, we will know how to navigate the world and become successful leaders.
You aren’t just a part of the Lourdes community when you are a student there, but long after you graduate. No other school has as many alumni come back to visit as Lourdes does. Not only do students come back, but the teachers at Lourdes go to visit the students at their new schools. No matter how old you are, or how many years it has been since you graduated, Lourdes will always be a home for you. Your classmates will be there if you need them ten years later. Your teachers will show up to give you a hand if you’re going through a hard time. The children at Lourdes who you thought were too young to remember you, will remember you. If you need anything, you will have the family that you made at Lourdes to lean on. My time at Our Lady of Lourdes has been an amazing experience that has had a big impact on who I am today, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
My Home Away From Home
Angela Walsh, 5th Grade
Winner - 3rd to 5th Grade Category
Why do I love my Catholic school? Not just because of my friends, Ms. Moore, Mr. Long, or the teachers. Of course, they are a big reason why I love Lourdes, but the one thing I love most about Lourdes is our Catholic faith. If someone asked what has Lourdes done to make you a better person, I would tell them, well, I have been at Lourdes since I was five, and when I was five, I certainly did not know that much about my faith or what I was doing when I went to mass, but when I started to go to mass every Friday at school with the eighth graders, they taught me to realize how important it is to be at Lourdes. When I was about eight years old, I realized that Lourdes is my second home, that Lourdes makes me a better person and a better Catholic. When Lourdes teaches me Religion, they don’t use big and complicated words, they make it easier for the students to learn.
I have to be completely honest, I’m sorry, Mrs. Cooley, I have never been that into reading, but when Lourdes’ teachers teach me Religion, all I like to do is smile and keep reading. At the end of every single day, Ms. Moore says our prayers and at the end of the prayers, she says, “May God be with you,” and what I think is that God is really with us at Lourdes. I could not think of a better place to spread your faith, be included, be able to pray alone, or as a community, than Lourdes. Lourdes is a place where you are not judged by the way you pray, the way you speak, or what you look like; Lourdes is an all-inclusive school. Lourdes is the place to be, do not worry, you do not need to change your personality.
Another big thing I love about Lourdes is that the students are not afraid to spread their faith. When we are asked to pray at Lourdes, I do not feel like I’m being forced to do it, I feel like God is telling me to do the right thing, and I know that not everyone feels that way, and that is why I spread my faith to them and tell them, “You pray to God when you are feeling down, and God will turn that frown upside down!” Well, what I’m trying to say is that if you are having a problem, just give God a call, and you will feel much better. If someone ever asked me, “Have you ever thought about leaving Lourdes?” I would say, “Why would I? Lourdes is my second home, my home away from home!”
Jasmine Velasquez, 8th Grade
Our Lady of Lourdes School is by no doubt an extraordinary place, and I am so blessed to be a part of this remarkable community. Lourdes instills a mindset in all students to do the right thing in any circumstance; it is a place where children learn and grow to become the people who walk the extra mile and always look out for the little guy. This school is so unique in various ways. I am positive that no other school has done the wondrous things we do here at Lourdes, such as go sledding in the middle of the day with absolutely no warning, bike 30 miles to Washington D.C., and Arlington Cemetery, and have about forty kids stay in one lockhouse with only one bathroom!
Our Lady of Lourdes welcomes students of all backgrounds, faiths, and races. It doesn’t matter if you are a different religion or have a learning disability; Lourdes will gladly accept you. I am familiar with many private elementary and middle schools in Maryland, but Our Lady of Lourdes is the only one I know that will accept anyone. Also, since each grade only has about 20 to 25 kids, everyone knows each other, and they are all really close. I have made some incredible friends at Lourdes that I am sure to keep in touch with throughout high school. The students that come here are just genuinely nice. They make sure that nobody feels excluded and everybody gets along. All the students from little group to eighth grade are like one big family. The students and my friends are one of the major reasons I love Lourdes.
Teachers obviously are very important to a school, and they have a big impact on a child’s life. They not only make us smarter, but at Lourdes the teachers teach us how to act, how to be responsible, and how to be respectful to everyone. At Our Lady of Lourdes, the teachers make the subjects we are learning fascinating and entertaining. Also, since the classes are small, they can focus on your own uniqueness. I feel that every teacher really cares about the students, and they have a special connection. All of the teachers hold this school together and keep us on track.
One more unique thing about Lourdes that I love and appreciate is morning announcements. I love how the whole school, little group through eighth grade, gather in one room to greet the morning by announcing their birthday, that they lost a tooth, or that they see the face of God in someone. I also really like how we as a school pray in the beginning and end of the day. Being with God in a state of prayer is probably the most important part of my day.
Lourdes is one of those hidden gems that is very different and unique from other places. I love this small Catholic school for all of the students, my supportive friends, and especially the teachers for not only teaching me math, science, and English, but for teaching me more important subjects like how to treat others, how to make the wise decisions, and how to be a leader instead of following others’ bad examples. Our Lady of Lourdes school has taught me a lot that I will always love and cherish forever.
Sean Harmon, 8th Grade
A school is a place that kids dread going to, and it is a place defined by homework and tests. I don’t really know what this feeling is like, however. Yes, we have our fair share of homework and tests, but school isn’t just about tests and homework.
School is about making friendships and gaining confidence to go out into the world. Being at Our Lady of Lourdes shows you what life is really about. Life isn’t about staying in one place all day and talking to the same people. Life is about going on 36-mile bike trips with Mr. Long and learning how to problem solve when a bike breaks down. It is about going to sing for the elderly and entertain them with the various jokes we know. It is also about sitting on the floor drawing with preschoolers before school starts and talking about superheroes. School is about gaining confidence just as well, and there is no better way than to tell 250 plus students about your weekend or any birthdays in your family. You can also gain confidence from singing or telling jokes in front of the entire school. There isn’t another school that can offer you this type of education. Not only can Lourdes teach you how to handle life, but it gives you a sense of belonging.
The amount of diversity and types of personalities we have at our school is amazing. In the world, there is a huge amount of racism and prejudice towards different types of people, but at Lourdes, it is all left outside. Walking into Lourdes every day makes you realize how good the world can be after being greeted by pretty much the entire school. Times like when the teachers are running late after a faculty meeting, and instead of everyone just groaning and waiting for them to come in, we decide to cheer for every single person who walks into the gym making people really happy. Our school teaches a much more important lesson than just the basic skills in math and reading. Lourdes teaches how to live life and make a difference in the world.
John Hessick, 7th Grade
I love my school for many reasons, and I will tell you about a few. Lourdes has done so much for me; I could never repay them. One reason I love Lourdes is because of its inclusive community. Lourdes will not leave anyone out under any circumstances. The inclusiveness of my school helps me learn different beliefs, ideas, and a greater understanding of the world around me. The diversity in our community makes everyone at our school stronger individually and collectively.
Another reason I love Lourdes is because of its high standards. Lourdes has pushed me to become the student and the person I am today. It has shaped me academically and religiously. The academics and faith that I have been taught at Lourdes will help me become the person I want to be. Additionally, the teachers are great, and if you are doing something wrong, they will guide you to the right path with patience and kindness. If you are having a problem, the school and the teachers will not stop until your problem is solved. My teacher this year, Mr. Sahadi, is teaching me to be my best self. With all the support from my school, I know that I am starting my life out right.
Finally, I love my school because of my friends. I’ve known most of my friends at Lourdes since I was five years old. My friends and I have always had a great time together, and I know we will have many more great times together. My friends will also encourage me to be a better person. Additionally, I can use the life skills that Lourdes has taught me to help my friends out as well when they are having problems. Teachers can also be your friends. Teachers understand the stress of being in the seventh grade because they were in the seventh grade, too. I love my school for many reasons, and now I hope you can understand why.
Grace Reilly, 6th Grade
Our Lady of Lourdes isn’t the kind of school you can find anywhere else; it’s one of a kind. No matter how far or low you search, there is only one right here in Bethesda, Maryland.
Lourdes is the place where I learned math from Mr. Dwyer and how to ride a bike from Mr. Long. I love Lourdes because they accept you for who you are. All the way from little group to eighth grade, I can assure you that most of your lifetime friendships will be made here. Lourdes isn’t just a place where you learn science or grammar, it’s a place where you learn friendship and loyalty.
Our motto is Faith, Excellence, and Service. Our faith is very important; it is something you cherish for the rest of your life. Excellence - nobody is perfect, but at Lourdes the teachers and staff are not teaching you just to make you better, they are teaching you from your level of experience to make you better. Last but not least, Service. You might be thinking of military, but no, simply picking up trash or singing at Winter Wonderland is service. Bake sales for breast cancer awareness or for hurricane survivors is also service.
Lourdes is always there to lend a hand whether it’s one person, a group of people, or even the whole school. The only word I can think of to describe Lourdes is “amazing.”
Marco Nicolacci, 4th Grade
I love my Catholic school because of its inclusive community and because our motto of “Faith, Excellence, and Service” is used daily. Our teachers help us persevere through everyday challenges like classwork and lessons. They have patience for each and every student no matter how hard things get. They dedicate all their time and effort to helping us. We, as students, never give up and give our best effort at everything we do. Even at recess we keep our values and show them. No one in our community is left out. Everyone is included, and that is something I love.
“Faith, Excellence, and Service” is our motto, and we see it on the wall of our gym every morning. Our Lady of Lourdes has taught me to use this motto in everyday life, whether we are at school or not. We do our best to never give up these beliefs that we are taught. We say prayer every morning which helps us be close to God. This is a base for our faith, excellence, and service. Our excellence is shown in the classroom. Finally, service is shown through our helpful actions to people. We, as a school, must show everyone who we are. We are not just any Catholic school; we are Our Lady of Lourdes.
Alexis Brenan Rothschild, 3rd Grade
I love my Catholic school because all the teachers make all the work so fun and happy. I also love Friday because we go to Mass. At Mass I like receiving the Eucharist and listening to the Gospel.
Our teachers take very good care of us and make everyone happy. They also teach us how to solve problems, and they always help us when we need it.