Recently, Catholic Schools around the country celebrated Catholic Schools Week. The theme this year was “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” Schools throughout the archdiocese spent the week of January 28-February 1st celebrating all that makes us unique with masses, prayer services, fun events and activities.
It was a wonderful time for me to reflect upon my career in Catholic education. I am passionate about the subject! A product of the local Catholic Schools, I started at Christ the King in Terrytown, went on to Archbishop Blenk in Gretna, then received my degree in education from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in Algiers.
After I graduated, in the fall of 1989, I was hired to teach fourth grade at St. Andrew the Apostle School. I got married on a Friday night, honeymooned at a hotel in downtown New Orleans, then reported for work at 7 a.m. on that Monday morning. I didn’t want to leave town and miss a day of my new assignment. I was so excited! I still can still remember decorating and setting up that first classroom. I wanted it to be perfect and welcoming!
In 2013, I find myself in the middle of my twenty-fourth year as a Catholic school teacher. They say time flies when you are having fun. Well, the time has indeed passed too quickly! I feel so blessed to have had a job where I actually looked forward to going to work each day – and still do – after all these years. I now teach seventh grade religion at Our Lady of the Lake in Mandeville.
A lot has changed in Catholic Education over the decades. The bar has indeed been raised for the students academically and for faculty and staff professionally. One thing has not changed. The primary purpose of our existence as Catholic educators is to help our students to come to truly understand why they were created – to know, to love and to serve God in this life, so that they may be happy with Him in the next. We prepare minds for the challenges of this world, and souls for eternity. What a tremendous responsibility and awesome privilege!
To me, the thing I have valued most about Catholic education has been prayer. With our religious liberties being threatened, we must never take for this for granted! To be able to pray with and for each other throughout each day is a tremendous grace for both students and teachers! As humans, we need the constant reminder of God’s presence and the support of prayer.
When I stand among the younger children at assembly each morning and hear them recite the prayers and pledge of allegiance fervently in those sweet little voices, I still get goose bumps. When my teenage students pen a beautiful, heartfelt prayer, I am inspired. I can’t think of any place I’d rather be, or anything I’d rather do!
Thank you, Archdiocese of New Orleans! I will be forever grateful for the way that you have shaped my life and the lives of my students – both past and present!