Catholic education runs in Beth Zoellner's family, so it's no surprise that Beth and husband Jason's three children — Autumn, Tyler and Reese — are in St. Vincent de Paul School in Perryville.
As of May 27, Autumn, 16, is a rising junior in the high school, with Tyler, 12, entering seventh grade and Reese, 9, fourth.
Beth Zoellner graduated high school from St. Vincent de Paul in 1997, and her mom and dad, Dianne and Larry Brown, graduated in 1969. Beth's grandmother Rosettia Bohnert only went to school through eighth grade but it was in a Catholic school.
The cafeteria scene looked like any gathering at Any School USA, just peer boys and girls sitting around a table and either watching video games on smart phones or nibbling on the day's delicacies — meatball sandwiches and chips washed down with soda pops, juices or sports drinks.
In other words, nothing special.
But this was a novel scene, with students from three schools mingling and beingOne, so to speak, enjoying each other's company and fare from an area food truck.
Last weekend the Church celebrated Pentecost. This feast commemorates the occasion of the Holy Spirit descending on the apostles in the form of tongues of fire — therefore red is the liturgical color for the day. So you can imagine that the seniors participating in Bishop DuBourg High School's Baccalaureate Mass on this year's Feast of Pentecost were an impressive sight at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in their red and white graduation robes.
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Third-grader Maddie Ruggeri and fourth-grader Eliza Kelly had just finished doing jumping jacks, running in place and laps inside the gym and playing a game that kept them moving. They were about to do more activities outside.
As participants in the Girls of the Run St. Louis program at St. Ambrose School in the "Hill" neighborhood of south St. Louis, they didn't want to talk about the fun exercises. Instead, they focused on the life lessons they were learning.
"I like it because girls can be themselves and express their feelings while having fun," Maddi said.
Last year, Cameron Caldwell hurt his shoulder on the day he was to speak at Archbishop Robert J. Carlson's Gala, the major fundraiser for the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation.
But the senior from Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory High School came to the event anyway, delaying his emergency room visit until after he had spoken eloquently about what Catholic education has meant to him, how TTEF's generous supporters and scholarships have enabled him to get quality education and open up opportunities for the future.