Catholic schools are changing lives Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

• I’m a student, not a number.

• They really care about me.

• I’m more outgoing, not shy anymore.

• The expectation is excellence. We set high standards in reading and writing.

• Academics are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

• We preach the Good News.

• When you come out of a Catholic school, you know what service is.

These are just some of the comments made by students and teachers at Catholic schools in a YouTube video called “Catholic Schools/Now More Than Ever” produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It is obvious that the students and teachers on the video believe in what they’re saying. They speak with a lot of enthusiasm about their experiences at their school.

That excitement will be evident as Catholic schools throughout the country — including the 44 schools in the Diocese of Madison — prepare to  celebrate Catholic Schools Week (January 25 to 31) with the theme, “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service.”

Impact of Catholic schools

This is a perfect opportunity to remind everyone in our diocese just how important it is to value and support our Catholic schools. For indeed, Catholic schools continue to change so many lives.
As a product of Catholic elementary and high school myself, I realize what an impact my Catholic education had on my own life.

I had a top-notch academic education which prepared me very well for college studies. In my freshman English class in college, I remember our teacher selecting two essays to be read to the class after our first writing assignment. Both of the essays were written by graduates of Aquinas High School in La Crosse (mine being one of them).

He and I were certainly ready for college-level writing. The same was true in science, math, history, foreign languages, and other subjects.

Students in Catholic schools in our diocese are also well-prepared for college. One reason is the quality of the teachers. One in four teachers in our schools holds a master’s degree and seven teachers hold doctorates.

The average student/teacher ratio in the elementary schools in our diocese is 12:1, so students receive individualized attention. Over 98 percent of our Catholic high school graduates go on to college studies.

Emphasizing faith, service

But beyond the academic subjects, Catholic schools also prepare their students for future life experiences by emphasizing faith and service.

At Catholic schools, faith is woven into the fabric of the entire school day. Religion is not just a subject (although that is important, too), it is lived out every day in the way students interact with each other and with their teachers. The students attend Mass, pray together, and learn about how to lead good, moral lives.

Catholic schools also emphasize service within the school itself, within the Church, and within the community — on local and global levels.

Service becomes so engrained in Catholic school students that many of them continue to volunteer after graduation.

Please consider joining in the observance of Catholic Schools Week by attending special Masses, open houses, and other activities at your local Catholic schools.

Above all, support our Catholic schools with your prayers and financial contributions. Please help ensure our Catholic schools will continue to change lives in the future.