Catholic schools do a great job! Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, May. 17, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

It’s that time of year when we celebrate graduations in schools around the country.

This week’s Catholic Herald includes our annual Catholic school graduation section. We invite Catholic schools in the Diocese of Madison to send information about their graduation ceremonies.

One of my favorite parts of the section are short essays submitted by schools with graduates discussing what their Catholic education means to them.

A graduate writes about her Catholic education

One of them caught my attention this year. It was written by Kaitlan McKay, a 2018 graduate of St. John Vianney School in Janesville. This is what she writes:

“In my eyes, Catholic education provides a quality education along with excellent religious and moral foundations.

“Throughout my years of being taught by understanding and caring teachers, I feel as though my horizons have been broadened and my Catholic faith has been strengthened.

“Going to a school that supports your faith while being surrounded by peers who believe the same really helps you blossom in many subjects and your own faith.”

As a graduate of Catholic elementary and high schools myself, I agree with Kaitlan that Catholic schools provide a quality education in subject matter. I can still remember how well my classmates from Aquinas High School in La Crosse did when we went to college.

Even the students who weren’t in the top of our class academically still did well in college. In a freshman writing course in college, it was myself and another Aquinas graduate whose essays were read by our college teacher as examples of good writing techniques.

But beyond the academics, Catholic schools teach about religion and moral values. Young people today need to learn about religion and moral values in order to live their everyday lives as well-rounded people.

Pope speaks about importance of schools

A few years ago, I wrote about what Pope Francis said about the importance of schools as places where students learn the connection between truth, goodness, and beauty. As reported in a Catholic News Service article, the Holy Father told about 300,000 Italian students that he loved school as a boy, as a teacher, and as a bishop.

Meeting with the students in St. Peter’s Square, the pope said he loves schools because “they educate us about truth, goodness, and beauty, which all go together. Education cannot be neutral, either it is positive or it is negative; it enriches or impoverishes; it helps the person grow or it suppresses or even corrupts them.”

A mature person will graduate, Pope Francis said, speaking “three languages: the language of the mind, the language of the heart, and the language of the hands,” making sure their actions are well thought out and are motivated by what is true, good, and beautiful.

Although all schools could help students speak these “three languages,” I think Catholic schools have a special opportunity to teach the language of the mind, heart, and hands.

Catholic schools do an excellent job in preparing students academically, as well as educating them in their faith and inculcating in them a desire for service to others.

As Catholic school graduates move on to the future, let’s hope they remember everything they’ve learned and put their knowledge to good use in bettering the world.

Congratulations to Kaitlan McKay, other graduates, parents, and Catholic schools for the great job you’re doing!