We are told every day that our goal is “To grow in mind, heart and spirit to become leaders of the world.”
It wasn’t until this school year that those words began to sink in. As I stand next to my classmates and recite those words every morning, I finally understand the impact that my Catholic education has had on me. The past nine years I have been blessed with academic excellence. I have been taught many Christian morals and have met lifelong friends at St. Barnabas School.
The school is known for many things, but one of the most rewarding is the academic excellence. The teachers push you to do your best, and they never give up on you. When they say we’re a school where “No one gets left behind,” it applies to everyone. Every teacher ensures that every student understands and is ready to move forward from whatever we may be doing. We strive for nothing but the best, and we always accomplish our goals. Without the hard work and dedication our teachers put into their jobs, we would not be the students we are today.
Beside the fact that our teachers strive to make us better students, they push even harder to make us better people in the world. When it comes to the canned food drive, filling St. Nick stockings for the poor or simply helping a friend in need, I have been taught humility, compassion and love. St. Barnabas has shaped me into a person who would do anything to help a friend out or be there for someone in need. We learn more than just math, literature and science. We learn what it takes to be a follower of Christ.
I have not only gained knowledge but lifelong friends. I see the same people every day. Of course, we’ve lost and gained a few along the way. We have seen each other at our worst and at our best, and that’s what makes our connection so strong. We aren’t just classmates, we’re family.
Looking back on my nine years at St. Barnabas, I realize that I would not have wanted to be anywhere else. The experiences and the people I have met make leaving bittersweet.
My Catholic education means carrying Christ in my heart wherever I go, doing what is right even when it’s hard to do and to never stop loving those around me.
As I continue my journey through life, I’ll forever hold St. Bar-nabas in my heart while cherishing the memories and the people. St. Barnabas gave me something a different school would not have; I have never felt so blessed.
By Joseph Carper, eighth-grader
If you stepped through the front door of St. Barnabas School, a framed quote would catch your eye: “Let it be known to all who enter here: Christ is the reason for this school.”
This statement is not just a morale-raising catchphrase. At St. Barnabas and all Catholic schools our mission is to be a witness to Christ. All that we do is in formation to become Christ’s disciples in the world. Whether through academics, sports, service, prayer, extra-curricular activities or youth ministry, we are becoming Christ-like leaders of the world.
The pursuit of academic excellence is one of the most notable features of a Catholic school. Quality, driven teachers provide the backbone of the curriculum. The standards are set high, and everyone is expected to do their best to improve. This recipe is shown to be successful by our high scores and willingness to learn.
At St. Barnabas there is no lack of prayer or religious cultivation. We keenly study the Bible and how our faith affects our lives. Every morning we pray as a school and learn about saints, who equip us to be moral compass-carrying individuals in a world often full of confusion and hatred.
There is also a strong emphasis on student leadership.
When members of our community suffer a loss or tragedy, we suffer with them. We support one another when someone is down. The school and parish are filled with countless volunteers who help provide a great experience to all students.
No one is afraid to be themselves and to stand up for what they believe in; we are not affected as much by social pressure and fads.
We take our manners and values with us onto the fields and courts. All of our players understand sportsmanship and hard work, which results in an impressive athletic program. We pray after practices and before games, and we work hard to improve our skills. Participating in football, basketball, and volleyball has manifested this to me.
I have gained an invaluable education and social skills. I have no doubt in my ability to succeed. I know that wherever the river of life takes me, I will be a witness of Christ due to my Catholic education.
By Joseph Woodruff, eighth-grader
As I look back on my Catholic education since kindergarten, I realize that it has been a great privilege and blessed experience. St. Barnabas is the perfect school for me, offering many opportunities in service and academic excellence. The school excels in putting God first, always giving us chances to grow as a person and a child of God.
Service has always been a big part of the curriculum, and the constant focus has influenced me to become a better, more helpful person. The quarterly service hours made me really appreciate service and think of it not as homework but something I liked doing.
We pray throughout the day. God is always a part of class, and we often pray before class begins. I believe that because of all of the time devoted to reflection and prayer, there is less bullying here than at other schools. Every student is sincerely a good person and not judged by outward appearance.
One of my favorite things about St. Barnabas is the individualized attention that teachers give to students. The teachers and principal know all of us kids, and this helps our academic progress because they know our needs. I could talk to any of the teachers if I were struggling in or out of school, and they would try their hardest to get me help. That is what I appreciate – I trust my teachers.
I will miss St. Barnabas when I graduate. It has made me more prepared than I ever could have been somewhere else. St. Barnabas has challenged me to be my best, and that is what I have done. I am extremely grateful to have experienced such a wonderful school.
While Catholic schools bring the best out of their students, I believe that St. Barnabas is one of the best. I am greatly blessed to have had such an adventure at a school that will stay in my mind and heart forever.
By Hannah Tyler, fifth-grader
Words can’t explain how grateful I am for the Catholic education I get at St. Barnabas. I have learned so much about my faith and the right way to act in different situations. If I had to write about how many things my teachers have taught me about my faith, my hand would fall off.
One of the many things that I have learned is what it means to follow Jesus. Anyone can believe in Jesus – even demons believe in Jesus – but you have to really dedicate your time to Jesus.
We are extremely lucky to go to a Catholic school. One of the things we get to do is go to an amazing Mass every Wednesday. Sometimes I forget how lucky we are. Some people don’t have all of these things. At St. Barnabas we try to help. We do the canned food drive and St. Nick stockings.
At St. Barnabas everyone has amazing positivity. Every morning when I walk in there is always someone to greet me. Everyone is so nice. Going to this school is definitely going to help me in my future. I will know how to act more like Jesus. I am so lucky and grateful to go to this school. We are not just a parish; we are a family.
By Anita Conn, fourth-grader
You may think that school is all about learning to read and doing math. But at St. Barnabas it doesn’t matter who is the smartest kid in class. What matters is who is the kindest.
St. Barnabas makes me feel welcome and important. When students enter the school, the teachers greet them with an open heart and a smile to take them to class. The teachers want you to be the best you can be.
We have an all-school Mass, and we pray before lunch. A teacher would be more upset if you hurt someone than if you forgot to do a lunch count. It matters to be a kind person if you attend St. Barnabas.
If you took a tour of St. Barnabas, you could tell we are a Christian school. The students are peacemakers and love their friends and teachers. We aren’t perfect, but we try to do what Jesus would do every day.
St. Barnabas is an amazing school, and it helps me learn about God. The school has helped me to develop my personality and achieve goals. When I graduate I will take all of what St. Barnabas taught me and use it in high school and college. Love and encouragement is what St. Barnabas has shown me.
By Emily Gramman, sixth-grader
St. Barnabas has been around for 50 years, but this is my first year here. Even though I have only been here a short time, it feels longer. The school feels loving, caring, faithful and happy. That is what makes me feel good here.
You learn about your faith every day in religion class, and you go to Mass every Wednesday. I have learned so much about my faith, Jesus and the early church since coming here.
Happiness is everywhere. There are no worries, and you always have your friends to keep you happy. This is a blessing because you don’t want to be in a school where there is a down environment. You want a school where you are joyful. I have learned that happiness is a gift that you don’t want to let go of.
There are lots of good people and nice teachers. I have made many good friends since coming here. I have learned that friendship is a gift that you never want to lose.
If I ever leave St. Barnabas, I will definitely miss the feeling of community, the faithfulness and the happiness. I am happier now than before. I have grown so much in my faith these past few months. All of these things make me who I am, and I’m a better person now.