During National Schools Week, January 31-February 6, 2016
By Andy Reel, senior
The mention of a Catholic school evokes a couple of thoughts in the mind of the average person.
Typically, images of uniforms and state-winning football teams come to mind. With further thought, the idea of daily prayer surfaces. Most people stop the process here, which is unfortunate because there are so many aspects of a Catholic education that are overlooked. A Catholic education provides more than just religious teachings; it develops teenagers into well-rounded, confident young adults.
Students attend religion classes and learn about the teachings, history and roots of Catholicism. For non-Catholics, these classes show a glimpse into the philosophy of another religion, which is integral in the process of becoming more cultured and educated. I love having answers to religious questions, and I struggle when I can’t find answers.
During my years at a public school my faith weakened due to the lack of education I had regarding the Catholic faith, but my time at Roncalli has since reinvigorated my faith. Apart from religion classes, there are numerous other ways in which Catholic schools have helped my academic career. Due to the fact that teachers must make significant sacrifices in order to teach at Catholic schools, those who choose to do so are among the greatest educators.
Another aspect of a Catholic education that is often overlooked is the sense of camaraderie that is fostered within the walls of Catholic schools. As a student who has been involved in extracurricular activities in public and private schools, my experience at Roncalli has been firmly rooted in brotherhood. One activity is soccer, which I have played at the school and club level. I loved club soccer, and my teams were always close, but playing at Roncalli was different. Praying before games and having a strong, common faith allowed for an unparalleled sense of camaraderie as a player for the Rebels.
I have also been involved in the theater department, where the term “family” isn’t used lightly. Actors and techies alike share in the family that is the Roncalli theater department. The closeness comes from the hours we spend together. Support is omnipresent, and we all look out for one another. Every shoulder is a shoulder to cry on. My experience in other theaters has been nothing like this; this experience is specific to Catholic education.
Outside of extracurricular activities, there is a strong sense of friendship among the Roncalli family, as clearly seen at our monthly all-school Masses, where we close each service by singing “Lean on Me” with unimaginable enthusiasm. I may be wrong, but I don’t think the entire school just has an uncanny preference for Bill Withers songs. There is a tangible, real, emotional feeling behind those lyrics.
The presence of faith in the classroom has meant a lot to me as a Catholic student, but the two minutes of prayer every day between the second and third periods haven’t influenced me as much as the passionate teachers and family bond among the students.
My life has been altered by Catholic education; I am firmly rooted in my faith and my college path is paved well. While my education cannot be summed up by successful sports teams or uniforms or any other obvious stereotypes, it has provided me with an unparalleled path to success and shaped me with opportunities unobtainable in any other setting. I am a proud product of Catholic education and am stronger because of it. I can only hope to get stronger.
By Jennifer Biasi, senior
Before coming to Roncalli I had never considered the importance of a Catholic education. My only experience with a Catholic education came from taking religious classes as a child.
I attended public school up until my freshman year, and I really had no idea what a Catholic education was or what it meant. Coming to Roncalli was a conscious decision for my family and me; I had to decide whether or not to attend a public high school. My parents, both with experience in Catholic schools, knew the positive impact that a Catholic education would have on me. Little did I realize that an education backed by faith would be the best thing that ever happened to me.
If there is one thing that I have learned from Roncalli, it is that my faith has shaped me into who I am. Getting a Catholic education means that I can share my faith with others and I don’t have to hide my beliefs. I am able to pray daily with my teachers and peers, and I have the opportunity to go to Mass with the entire school. I always thought Mass was just something I had to do until learning the meaning behind everything that happens there.
Roncalli is like a big family that is united by its faith. I know there are people in the school who love me, who are praying for me and who are there to support me through all of my struggles. I also know that God is watching out for me; I believe this because I was able to learn about God and Catholicism through a Catholic education.
A Catholic education is important to the growth and maturity of students, especially high schoolers, as they are discovering who they are and who they want to be. A Catholic education brings students closer to their faith while showing them how to be kind and generous. One way we are generous to others is through volunteer work. I didn’t realize the impact I could make on those around me until I started to volunteer at pantries.
I am who I am today because I chose an education that allows me my to express my beliefs and share them with others.
By Ava Elsener, sixth-grader
I used to be that kid ... the one who was new, didn’t know anyone and was lost. Starting over at a new school was hard.
I had already moved to a different state and made new friends at a new school. But I transferred again. When I walked into this new school, something inside me felt like I belonged there, but I knew no one, and I didn’t know how or why I was having this feeling. Maybe it was the smiles on people’s faces or their welcoming voices.
But something told me it was God, who helped me get through that first day; he kept the butterflies out of my stomach. When I walked into that first-grade classroom, my teacher said, “Hi Ava, I am your new teacher. I am so glad that you have decided to come here.” At that moment I knew where I belonged.
I am so fortunate to attend Holy Name of Jesue School. It is where I received my first Holy Communion, my first Reconciliation and where I realized how important God is. Going to a Catholic school means more than anything else to me. I get to pray, learn about God and spend my time around people who appreciate me and who I am. My ultimate goal is heaven, and with the help of religion teacher and my classmates, I feel closer to heaven than I have ever felt before.
Going to a Catholic school has helped me achieve my happiness. Everyone welcomed me. I am still close to the people who talked to me since that first day, which was 5 1/2 years ago. The staff has especially made me feel welcomed. They are the nicest people I have ever met, and they are always there to comfort me during hard times.
Attending Catholic school is a privilege, and no one should ever take advantage of it. These schools are all about making the world a better place, knowing the way of God and making you feel special. This Catholic school has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Without it, I would be lost.
Just remember what Mother Teresa said, “Do small things with great love.”
By Claire Wagner, sixth-grader
What is the definition of family?
According to dictionary.com, “A family is a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not; the traditional family.”
At Holy Name Catholic School we are all one big family, maybe not by the traditional definition but by the way we support one another, and we know, love and serve God. Through the ups and downs of our daily lives, we are there for one another. The positive atmosphere of a Catholic school really helps with all the challenges that life can throw at you. In a non-Catholic school people aren’t able to pray together or be open about their faith.
When getting to know Jesus at a Catholic school, you learn how he died on the cross for us. Jesus did not have a carefree life; so being aware of that, we can move through our day knowing that it is not as difficult as what Christ went through to save us from sin. Loving God is simply showing love toward others. When we love our neighbors more than ourselves, we are putting God first because he asks us to be his disciples.
At a Catholic School we are taught to treat others the way we want to be treated, and doing that is natural in everything I do.
Serving God is often easier said than done. Most people find it difficult spending their whole lives dedicated to God as religious people. What we are taught to do at Holy Name is to do simple things, like holding the door for someone to serve God, which isn’t all that difficult.
We begin and end each day with prayer. In knowing, loving and serving God, I feel that a Catholic school, particularly Holy Name, is one huge family that I’m glad to be a part of.
By Mallory Carson, seventh-grader
“Catholic” is a small word, but it has a large meaning.
Catholic means believing that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world and that he saves us all from sin. It is a huge blessing to have the privilege to attend a Catholic school. I go to a school where God is important and everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Holy Name even has the blessed name of God in the title. We are taught how to be lifelong learners committed to knowing, loving and serving God.
My Catholic school means knowing God. We believe that God is within us and that he is truly our savior. We know that God exists because our religion teacher, Sister Nicolette, helps us see God in everyone. All of our teachers show us how to become closer with God.
My school also means loving God. We love to go to church and spend time with Jesus. My school also enjoys praying the rosary together. God is inside of every person, and he made everyone in his image. By loving God, we respect other students and teachers.
We serve God by spreading his love and word. Serving God doesn’t just mean serving him by doing what he asks us. It can also mean doing things God would want us to do and giving up things for other people. I have seen people in my school stop and help someone pick up their stuff that they dropped instead of walking by them. Everyone at my school has a fishing hat that symbolizes that we are fishermen of God.
Being Catholic is a really important part of my life. It means believing that Jesus is our savior. I love my school because we respect one another and God.
By Elizabeth Beeson, seventh-grader
I am blessed to attend a Catholic school. It means so much to me, and I always think about how lucky I am to be at Holy Name. I have been in a Catholic school since my first-grade year, and that has shaped me to be the person I am today.
Holy Name means everything to me. Some people may take a fantastic school like this for granted, but I certainly do not. I know how wonderful this school is, and I am proud to be a part of it. I love to tell people about my school and how spectacular my school is. Did you know that our school has placed in theology division for Quest for Excellence for many years? Also, I have heard how Holy Name children are always kind and polite.
The students and teachers are loving and caring. All the teachers take their time help students with any problems they have; our teachers truly care about us. The students are very kind, and Holy Name has never really had any bad bullying problems. We are all one big family. We treat one another with respect, and we are always striving to know, love and serve God.
My school means the world to me. Almost every part of my everyday life revolves around my school, and I am OK with that because Holy Name is like a second home to me, and I love it. All Catholic schools are absolutely extraordinary.
I am grateful for Holy Name because it has the best education concerning God and Catholicism. We have a wonderful religion teacher who helps us with our faith. Without her as my teacher I wouldn’t be as strong in my faith as I am today. I really do learn something new every day.
Holy Name means everything to me; it makes me happy, closer to God and dear to others. Holy Name has changed my life; it is a healthy environment for everyone. Every person in our school knows and loves ones other. We are all friends. I am proud of my school; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
By Joe Sizemore, eighth-grader
My Catholic school is important to me because I care about my faith, and I love God.
I want to go to heaven when I die and spend eternity with God. I want all the graces that I can have on Earth to make sure I can go to heaven and be a nice, holy person to everyone else.
With my Catholic school to help me on my way, I am sure to be heading in the right direction after I graduate from here. Holy Name is a good school where I can learn all about my faith because of Sister Nicolete, who is the nicest sister in the whole world. She helps us to understand every detail of our faith.
This school has a great church and pastor, Father Williams, who is funny, holy and wise. When I serve for Mass he greets me politely; he loves to joke with me. Father Williams is one of the best pastors I have had at this school. He keeps our school in order.
We go to Mass every Tuesday and Thursday. Holy Name School is the best place for me to start my way to heaven. I hope after this school year that I am a quarter of the way up the mountain to heaven.