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Principal Bob Kellogg Shares "What Catholic Schools Mean to Me"
Reflections by Bob Kellogg, Principal at St. Ann Catholic School, Cadillac
As I write this, Catholic Schools Week is less than a week away and I am thinking about what it has meant to me, especially because it has affected me personally in so many ways. I have been particularly fortunate to have been part of St. Ann School in Cadillac in a variety of roles including student, teacher, coach, parent, School Board member, and principal. I hope what I share with those who read this article will remind them of what made Catholic schools special for them, why they chose to send their child(ren) to a Catholic school and how they can help or be involved in a Catholic school.
My experience as a student at St. Ann began as a first grader and ended in the seventh grade (because that was the last grade offered). My memories are positive of my classes, teachers, principals and classmates. I believe that the education I received at St. Ann provided me with the foundation of the person I now am. I enjoyed the lessons learned and the experiences I had, including the sports and activities. But one of the most important parts of that important phase of my life was the friendships I formed. To this day, some of my classmates from St. Ann are remain some of the closest friends I have and I think a big reason why is because of the outstanding Catholic education we received years ago. I think it is not only because of the Catholic religion we learned, but that the values and character traits we share have made these relationships last over the years.
In my early professional years, I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity by Fr. Edwin Thome, who was then Pastor of St. Ann Cadillac, to serve as an educator (teacher and coach) at St. Ann, Cadillac for six years. That opportunity to develop my general education skills enriched my faith and has served me well. (I am currently in my 34th year as an educator -- the last twelve as a principal).
Those years at St. Ann allowed me to recall many of the life lessons, the people I learned from and with, and helped me establish who I was and how I would grow as an educator. I was enriched by fellow educators who served as my mentors, awesome students who helped confirm my choice to be an educator, and supportive families who understood the importance of a quality Catholic education.
My next phase of being involved at St. Ann was as a parent and a member of the School Board. Just as my wife and me, our three children were fortunate to receive an outstanding education -- not only a Catholic, faith-based, education, but a great education in all curriculum areas. The opportunity to have them learn in an environment based on Christian values and to be able to actually, outwardly teach by those values, attend liturgy as a school family and educate and watch them grow as Christian people was -- incredible! My wife and I were extremely pleased with their wonderful overall education and experience they received. We credit the strong foundation they received for their success in the public school system, the colleges and universities they have attended, and now as they pursue their careers as adults.
Certainly volunteering is very important in the day to day operation of a Catholic School. At the same time, it provides a special connection and allows the parents to have an increased role in the success of the school. I found my term as a School Board member to be very rewarding. I felt that I was contributing as a parent, an educator, and as a former student not only in a secular school board role, but as an active member of my faith -- which is the reason we chose/choose to send our children to a Catholic- Christian School.
My latest role in Catholic schools as the principal at St. Ann in Cadillac has provided the unique opportunity to return where I started. It is an honor and privilege for me to find myself in this role. I believe that as principal I need to be a leader for the entire student body and staff. I strive to model a solid faith life, personal life and professional life -- traits that I tried to exude even as a public educator. This is a role I feel I began preparing for many years ago as a student at St. Ann.
I believe that my previous experiences as a student, educator, parent, spouse, and all the other roles I have been blessed with in my journey, have provided me with the broadest background possible for this new and challenging opportunity. I know I am here it is in large part because of the tremendous Catholic education I received. It is my sincere desire to help our students and staff enjoy the very best Catholic-Christian education experience possible -- one which will enable them to be successful now and in the future. My goal is to ensure that every student I have contact with will have the same wonderful opportunity that I received.
Ultimately, I pray that our staff and students not only take lifes lessons and knowledge of the 3-Rs with them as they proceed down the road of higher education and life in general, but that they live by their faith in God and His teachings in all things they do and who they grow to become.