THE MEGAPHONE

Irish prepare to celebrate Catholic Schools Week

President, students reflect on past experiences

A+banner+displayed+at+the+student+entrance+provides+a+reminder+of+Catholic+Schools+Week+beginning+on+Jan.+29.
A banner displayed at the student entrance provides a reminder of Catholic Schools Week beginning on Jan. 29.

A banner displayed at the student entrance provides a reminder of Catholic Schools Week beginning on Jan. 29.

Chandler Watson

Chandler Watson

A banner displayed at the student entrance provides a reminder of Catholic Schools Week beginning on Jan. 29.

Lauren Smith and Annika Garwood

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Beginning Jan. 29, the National Catholic Educational Association will sponsor the annual celebration Catholic Schools Week. Across the nation, schools typically celebrate Mass together, hold open houses or create friendly competition from a variety of events. The NCEA hopes that schools focus on the value of Catholic education and the benefit it provides the Church, local communities and the nation.

This year’s theme is simple: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.

Although this is a national celebration, schools go about the week differently depending on grade level, location or previous traditions.

Michigan to Indiana

President Mr. Rob Bridges experienced National Catholic Schools Week at his previous school in Michigan, Muskegon Catholic Central.

Bridges said, “It was a little different because we had pre-K through 12th grade. Little kids do more fun things; kids in elementary get more excited. We had the funny dress-up days, we would honor priests, nuns and veterans with thank-you cards.

“We thanked the parents and supporters of the school. Kids had dress-up days, snacks, cookies, balloons; each day something different, and we would always culminate it with a big mass at the end of the week with a big singing contest.”

Bridges added, “We had a tradition of getting a picture of the seniors with the kindergarteners at Mass as well. We always had a singing contest, where the elementary kids would sing a song to end Mass, like we do here, and they had the hand motions and the dance. The high school kids would then try to outdo them, then everyone would kind of go crazy with the song, and the parents would cry with joy and the gym being filled with all these kids singing and praising God. Very emotional and very, very cool.”

The value of gratitude

Although Bridges explained how much he loves the activities that take place daily, what he really hopes students take away from the week is the value of gratitude, and most importantly, gratitude for the adults and supporters that give students a Catholic education.

“During that week if we take time to really be grateful and thank those who make it possible, it makes those who support the school inclined to keep supporting. Gratitude goes a long way. I would pray and hope that our students at Cathedral would know this and appreciate it and would thank their parents for continuing the great gift of Catholic schools, and that they will send their own kids to a Catholic school someday.”

Director of campus ministry Mrs. Charlene Witka, said, “In years past, we’ve promoted this week with trying to do something that we are thankful for being in a Catholic school for students, the faculty and staff, parents and community outreach. Since we have reaffiliated with Holy Cross we have deemed National Catholic Schools Week as a Holy Cross awareness week also.”

This year the Holy Cross Council is in charge of planning Catholic Schools Week. These students get in motion a door decorating, choose a core value for each hallway and more.

Witka said, “We (will) have a Mass to celebrate National Catholic Schools Week, which is also a mass to celebrate Blessed Basil Moreau. I always look forward to the liturgy because in the liturgy, it is truly our way of coming together to worship and coming together to the altar to receive Jesus and to thank him for the opportunity to be here.”

In an email, director of marketing, Mrs. Grace Trahan-Rodecap, wrote, “Cathedral is promoting Catholic Schools Week by scheduling a series of social media posts that showcase the benefits of a Catholic education. Also, we will have a series of banners and posters throughout the school that celebrate this special week. In addition, we have taken out an ad celebrating Catholic Schools Week in The Criterion (the Catholic newspaper) and Catholic Radio.

The Holy Cross Council will hang up signs that read National Catholic Schools Week to shed light to the values of Holy Cross and show appreciation and celebration for this week.

Rodecap wrote, “I look forward to the spotlight that will be placed on Catholic schools during Catholic Schools Week. This is an opportunity to recognize all of the spiritual leaders, teachers, administrators and others who contribute their gifts to make a Catholic education a reality for young people. It’s also a chance to recognize and celebrate all that Catholic schools have to offer.”

She continued, “The benefits of a Catholic school include, but are not limited to, the following: Catholic schools provide religious and moral formation in a world badly in need of God’s word, Catholic schools offer a quality education, Catholic schools are the responsibility of the entire Catholic community and Catholic schools are the vital to the health of the Church and our world.”

As this school gets ready to celebrate this annual event, other Catholic schools in the area will do so as well.

Guerin Catholic Principal Mr. James McNeany explained why he is thankful to be a leader of a Catholic high school. “To me, it means I play a hand in evangelizing God’s plan for our salvation.  It is both an honor and an overwhelming responsibility.”

He explained that the focus of the week at his school in Noblesville will involve Mass. “During (Catholic Schools Week), we try and stress the blessing of being able to attend a Catholic school, and also our link to the universal Church. We do have an all-school Mass one day that week. We also invite our other deanery fifth graders to attend that Mass with us and participate in the various ministries during the liturgy.”

McNeany explained that students do not get dress down days and the week is more focused on being thankful for a Catholic education. He thinks students enjoy it, but “probably not as much as they did in grade school where it tends to be more of a celebratory week. High school is a little more low key, probably to the disappointment of some.”

Roncalli High School goes all out during the week, according to Principal Mr. Chuck Weisenbach. The school council determines the daily activities, but “they take suggestions from students through their stuco social media outlets,” Weisenbach said. He said students usually get dress down days every day during the week, but the themes always vary on what student council decides.

Weisenbach explained one of the traditions that happens annually during Catholic Schools Week. “We have done different things throughout the years. My favorite, though, has been having alumni come back and speak about their experience at RHS and its impact on their life. It’s a really special event that takes place for the alumni but also our seniors getting ready to graduate.”

For some people, working at a Catholic school is the only place they want to be. This has been the case for Weisenbach for 36 years. “I love being principal of a Catholic school as it means I can bring my faith into all aspects of my day and my work. I also like working with others who are committed to making the world a better place I love being able to work with young people daily, not only on helping them advance their academic skills but also grow their faith in Jesus.”

As Bridges would like to remind all students, the main goal of the week is to celebrate attending a Catholic school and being allowed to worship God in everything that we do. He said that before the week starts every year, he likes to read the first paragraph from Moreau’s Christian Education book: Teaching knowledge does not necessarily led to teaching the heart, but forming the heart makes it easier to teach the mind.

This year the Holy Cross Council is in charge of planning Catholic Schools Week. These students get in motion a door decorating, choose a core value for each hallway and more.

Witka said, “We (will) have a Mass to celebrate National Catholic Schools Week, which is also a mass to celebrate Blessed Basil Moreau. I always look forward to the liturgy because in the liturgy, it is truly our way of coming together to worship and coming together to the altar to receive Jesus and to thank him for the opportunity to be here.”

In an email, director of marketing, Mrs. Grace Trahan-Rodecap, wrote, “Cathedral is promoting Catholic Schools Week by scheduling a series of social media posts that showcase the benefits of a Catholic education. Also, we will have a series of banners and posters throughout the school that celebrate this special week. In addition, we have taken out an ad celebrating Catholic Schools Week in The Criterion (the Catholic newspaper) and Catholic Radio.

The Holy Cross Council will hang up signs that read National Catholic Schools Week to shed light to the values of Holy Cross and show appreciation and celebration for this week.

Rodecap wrote, “I look forward to the spotlight that will be placed on Catholic schools during Catholic Schools Week. This is an opportunity to recognize all of the spiritual leaders, teachers, administrators and others who contribute their gifts to make a Catholic education a reality for young people. It’s also a chance to recognize and celebrate all that Catholic schools have to offer.”

She continued, “The benefits of a Catholic school include, but are not limited to, the following: Catholic schools provide religious and moral formation in a world badly in need of God’s word, Catholic schools offer a quality education, Catholic schools are the responsibility of the entire Catholic community and Catholic schools are the vital to the health of the Church and our world.”

Celebrations across the diocese

As this school gets ready to celebrate this annual event, other Catholic schools in the area will do so as well.

Guerin Catholic Principal Mr. James McNeany explained why he is thankful to be a leader of a Catholic high school. “To me, it means I play a hand in evangelizing God’s plan for our salvation.  It is both an honor and an overwhelming responsibility.”

He explained that the focus of the week at his school in Noblesville will involve Mass. “During (Catholic Schools Week), we try and stress the blessing of being able to attend a Catholic school, and also our link to the universal Church. We do have an all-school Mass one day that week. We also invite our other deanery fifth graders to attend that Mass with us and participate in the various ministries during the liturgy.”

McNeany explained that students do not get dress down days and the week is more focused on being thankful for a Catholic education. He thinks students enjoy it, but “probably not as much as they did in grade school where it tends to be more of a celebratory week. High school is a little more low key, probably to the disappointment of some.”

Roncalli High School goes all out during the week, according to Principal Mr. Chuck Weisenbach. The school council determines the daily activities, but “they take suggestions from students through their stuco social media outlets,” Weisenbach said. He said students usually get dress down days every day during the week, but the themes always vary on what student council decides.

Weisenbach explained one of the traditions that happens annually during Catholic Schools Week. “We have done different things throughout the years. My favorite, though, has been having alumni come back and speak about their experience at RHS and its impact on their life. It’s a really special event that takes place for the alumni but also our seniors getting ready to graduate.”

For some people, working at a Catholic school is the only place they want to be. This has been the case for Weisenbach for 36 years. “I love being principal of a Catholic school as it means I can bring my faith into all aspects of my day and my work. I also like working with others who are committed to making the world a better place I love being able to work with young people daily, not only on helping them advance their academic skills but also grow their faith in Jesus.”

More than just one week

As Bridges would like to remind all students, the main goal of the week is to celebrate attending a Catholic school and being allowed to worship God in everything that we do. He said that before the week starts every year, he likes to read the first paragraph from Moreau’s Christian Education book: Teaching knowledge does not necessarily led to teaching the heart, but forming the heart makes it easier to teach the mind.

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About the Contributors
Annika Garwood, Reporter

I play year round softball with my high school and travel team, and in my free time I love to read and write young adult fiction.

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Chandler Watson, Reporter
I am involved in football, lacrosse and the Lumberjack Society. I joined the Megaphone because I enjoy writing. I hope to become a better writer with practice.
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