Catholic schools: A+ for America Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 -- 1:00 AM

The United States of America owes a great debt of gratitude to Catholic schools. From the early days of our country, Catholic schools educated the immigrants in this land (along with even some of the Native Americans).

As our country became a nation, Catholic schools continued to provide an outstanding education in both faith and academics to all citizens. Catholic schools have a proud tradition which is carried on today.

Catholic schools serve students from all economic backgrounds and all walks of life. They give students a strong academic and moral foundation, preparing them to succeed in life and contribute to their families, churches, and communities.

If we were to give Catholic schools a grade for their achievements, it would be A+. That’s why the theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week, observed January 30 to February 5, is so appropriate: “Catholic Schools: A+ for America.”

Appreciate excellent education

As the graduate of Catholic elementary and high schools myself, I appreciate the excellent education I received. I received an outstanding academic preparation in all areas. In fact, my education at Aquinas High School in La Crosse was so good that an  English teacher in college asked me and a fellow alumnus where we went to school. The teacher was so impressed by our ability to write essays he asked each of us read our essays to the rest of the class!

In addition to the academics, we received such a wonderful education in our Catholic faith. In elementary and high school, we were privileged to have Sisters and priests teaching in our classrooms, as well as outstanding and committed Catholic lay teachers. Besides what they taught us about our faith, Church history, the sacraments, and moral values, they also witnessed to us by their example.

I remember those teachers to this day. My eighth grade teacher (also the school principal) was Sister Clarice, a strong but gentle person who taught us so much. She was a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, who staffed Blessed Sacrament Elementary School and Aquinas High School.

Continued support needed

It is unfortunate that many Catholic schools today do not have the presence of those teaching Sisters, although lay teachers do an outstanding job. It reminds us, however, to support our many retired Sisters through the annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious in the Diocese of Madison the weekend of February 5 and 6.

In addition to supporting our retired religious, it is important to continue to give our time, talent, and treasure to help all Catholic schools. My husband and I give to the schools we attended, as well as the Catholic schools our children attended in elementary school, high school, and college. We believe we should give back to these schools just a little of what we received from our own education and the education of our children.

Our state bishops have issued a letter this year urging Catholics throughout Wisconsin to continue to support Catholic schools, which have contributed so much to our state and its people. I urge people to read that letter and promote support for Catholic schools.

Let’s help ensure that Catholic schools will be able to serve our parishes and communities in America with an A+ for many, many years to come.