Walking through the halls of St. AloysiusrnCatholic school and speaking with the students about Catholic Schools Week wasrna nostalgic joy that triggered memories of my own 17 years of Catholic schoolrnexperience.
There were all the familiar trademarks: ubiquitous plaid uniformsrnand saddle shoes, heart-shaped fundraising posters for cancer research,rncrucifixes beside the clocks in every classroom and watercolor paintings ofrnMartin Luther King Jr. filling pastel-painted walls.
The best of Catholicrnschools hadn’t seemed to change: the tight-knit communities, dedication tornservice, rigorous academics and the guidepost of a Catholic faith. However, itrnwas exciting to see what was different: technological learning advancements,rnblended-learning and a STEM curriculum.
Nearly 100 years ago the Sisters of Mercy foundedrnSt. Aloysius in South Los Angeles with the hope of offering a faith-basedrneducation to those from disadvantaged communities. And it is this motivationrnthat has always made Catholic schools an ambitious feat of passion.
This drovernreligious communities and families all over the United States to formrncommunities where the future of our nation could study in classrooms and get arnwell-rounded education: an education that demanded high academic expectations, imbuedrnthe value of service, rooted future leaders in moral standards and lovinglyrnhanded them all the tools to succeed.
This week schools allrnover the nation observe Catholic Schools Week, an annual celebration ofrnCatholic education in the United States. This year’s theme is Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead.rnSucceed.
As I spoke with the students at St. Aloysius I was stirred byrntheir embodiment of these values, from the student boasting plans of being arnneuroscientist, to the young woman starting her own non-profit to helprnhospitalized children, to the first grader explaining that her favorite part ofrnschool is learning about God, Jesus, Mary and all the saints.
Many successful and learned students have graduatedrnfrom Catholic schools, but far more important, many students have graduatedrnfrom Catholic schoolsknowing what it means to live like Christ. And I wasrnblessed to witness evidence of that in the students I met at St. AloysiusrnCatholic School.
With over 250 Catholic schools, the Archdiocese of Los Angelesrnhas much to celebrate.
Casey McCorry is a digital associate for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a documentary filmmaker, wife and mother.
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