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Celebrate Catholic Schools


By Michael Buell Superintendent of Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools and Chair of the Diocese of Gaylord Schools Committee As we embark on the 33rd Annual National Catholic Schools Week, I want to salute and recognize our 8,000+ Catholic schools across the country and the nineteen schools in the Diocese of Gaylord. Catholic Schools Week began in 1974 and is a joint project of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Catholic Education Association. This year’s theme, “The Good News in Education,” is a perfect time to reflect on the value of a Catholic education and the impact it makes on the world. Father William Davis, a priest of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and interim secretary for education at the USCCB, said “High achievement rates, high retention rates, high moral values and high student and parent satisfaction are the distinctive marks of a Catholic school. That’s the good news and we want to share it.” On January 31st, a delegation of more than 150 Catholic school students, teachers, and parents will meet with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill to promote Catholic schools. Just what is it that makes a Catholic education special? Every day, our students are excelling not only in the classroom, but leaving an impact on the world. Recently, I viewed a video by National Geographic photographer, Dewitt Jones, called, “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.” Within that video, he challenges people to not only be the best in the world, but be the best for the world. I could not agree more with this statement and feel it is critical that our Catholic schools emphasize this in our daily education. It is amazing and refreshing to watch our children’s school day focus not only on academics, but also how to make a difference in the world and become people of integrity. Our Catholic school students realize the importance of character, compassion, and commitment in their daily lives and our teachers work to develop those characteristics. The United State Conference of Catholic Bishops stated, “Young people of the third millennium must be a source of energy and leadership in our Church and nation. Therefore, we must provide young people with an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program of education and faith formation designed to strengthen their union with Christ and his Church” By equipping our children with an education rooted in the Catholic faith, we are ensuring that they have the foundation to live a moral life in a complicated world. The cost of a Catholic education is sometimes considered high, but the impact and value is priceless. As I visit Catholic schools in the Diocese of Gaylord, I could not be prouder of the jobs they do. I pray daily for the schools’ success and that the communities in which they are located are better because them. Every parent has sacrificed much in their daily lives for their children to receive a Catholic education and should be commended. Parents can be assured that the seeds that are planted today will reap a bountiful harvest in the future. Over the next three months, I will have the opportunity to visit all of our seventeen schools in the Diocese of Gaylord. I will be truly privileged to witness first hand this week’s Catholic Schools Week theme in action, “The Good News in Education.”

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