Dear Father | Sharing the good news of Catholic education
Q: What can I say to my young relatives to encourage them to send their children to Catholic schools?
Start by asking this question, "Is God part of my daily life or is He only allowed in my life on special occasions and on Sundays?"
Catholic schools, by their very nature, allow God and His message to be integrated into every aspect of the educational experience. There are times where this is more clearly seen, such as during religion class, during times of prayer or during Mass. God, though, is not limited to these times; He is always present, waiting to be seen and experienced. A disagreement on the playground allows reflection on the perennial question, "What would Jesus do?" Christian relationships based on God's love are developed between students and student to teacher. God's truth is taught in its entirety: there are not just mathematical truths or scientific truths or religious truths. All these truths flow from and lead to One who is the truth: Jesus.
Catholic education allows students and parents to see how God and Catholicism are part of everyday life, not just on Sundays. While possible in other educational settings, Catholic schools allow this connection to be readily made by students and parents. This builds a firm foundation for a life where God is an active participant every day.
Another reason to choose Catholic education is its quality. Catholic schools have a long reputation for producing more high school graduates who are accepted into college. In 2010, 99.1 percent of students in Catholic schools completed high school, compared to only 73.1 percent in public schools nationwide. Some 84.7 percent of these graduates in Catholic schools went on to four-year colleges, compared to only 44.1 percent of public school students. Thanks to more rigorous academics, motivated teachers and students, and generally smaller classes, students at Catholic schools are challenged to learn and excel academically.
Smaller class sizes and motivated, dedicated teachers do not only mean higher academic achievements. These factors also mean greater personal development for the student. Teachers, who see their role as a calling from God, take time to know each student well. With this personal knowledge, they are able to help mold the student to be more like another Christ, not only academically but in all aspects of human development. This means that Catholic schools not only graduate learned young men and women, but also well-rounded individuals.
The best way to encourage someone to attend Catholic schools is to encourage them to go and see a Catholic school in action. Walking into a Catholic school, one can tell the atmosphere is different in a positive way from other schools they may have visited. This time of year is also the perfect time to do this, as many offer now an open house on a Sunday or opportunities to shadow a student. Taking advantage of that will allow your relatives to not only hear about, but also experience, the ways that Catholic schools really are the good news in education.
Father Mayo is associate pastor of St. Francis Borgia Parish in Washington. Send questions for a priest to: St. Louis Review, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119 or email email@example.com.
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