Elementary schools

Gymnasium becomes sacred space

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For about five minutes on April 24, The Ray DeGreeff Gymnasium at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School sounded like, well, a gymnasium.

Similar to a sporting event, raucous cheering filled the gym as school president Father Kevin Schmittgens welcomed the region's elementary Catholic schools, whose students had taken up residence in the bleachers and floor seating. They whooped, hollered and otherwise celebrated at hearing their school's names.

After recognizing the schools, Father Schmittgens uttered the magic word – prayer.

Christ the King student headed to National Geographic Bee

Jackson Cooper, a seventh-grader at Christ the King School in University City, listened to teacher Mike Bettonville in social studies class on April 16. Jackson is the Missouri state winner of the National Geographic Bee and will head to Washington, D.C., to compete with 53 other winners from across the United States.

It was a nail-biting competition with nearly a dozen tie-breaker questions. But Jackson Cooper secured the win with this wringer:

What city that is home to the renowned Ambrosian Library is also the principal financial center of Italy?

The seventh-grader at Christ the King School in University City edged out St. Louis Priory seventh-grader Evan Hugge with the correct answer — Milan — to win the Missouri state-level competition of the National Geographic Bee April 6 at Moberly Area Community College.

New tax law expands education savings plan to include Catholic schools tuition

Editor's note: Updated Feb. 26 with information about Parent Information Sessions on MOST 529 plans presented by the Catholic Education Office and Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation.


Fresh from giving a presentation about the new tax law, on Jan. 15, Deacon Matt Witte described the new benefits of Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (MOST) as, simply, "pretty cool."

"It's really wide-open architecture for anyone who wants to use 529 money for grade school and high school now," said Deacon Witte, a financial planner.

Editorial | Catholic Schools Week reminds us of the sacrifices of early Catholic education pioneers

Two hundred years ago when Catholic education got its start in St. Louis, certainly the classroom experience was a bit rudimentary.

Our first educators, many of them women religious such as St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, didn't have much when they came to the New World. Their work was considered by many a heroic response to the needs of that day — often educating the poor and marginalized of society. In those early days, there was no formal teacher training, the resources were few and the sacrifices great.

Catholic School Olympics kick off joyous week for Catholic education

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With music blaring, about 160 students from eight Catholic schools in the archdiocese joyfully claimed Courts 2 and 3 of Simon Recreation Center at St. Louis University.

In two lines, the sponsoring Billiken Teacher Corps formed a canopy for the youngsters to come through, skipping and dancing, whooping and hollering in anticipation of the fun times ahead that afternoon — the Catholic School Olympics to kick off Catholic Schools Week Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.

Crossing a Frontier

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When St. Rose Philippine Duchesne ventured from France to the New World to establish schools here, the 70-day voyage across the Atlantic was certainly rife with hardships.

She had little money. Didn't know the culture. And she ate rock-hard sea biscuits on the voyage.

These were lessons learned by students at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, as part of Catholic Schools Week, which kicked off Jan. 28.

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