Tomorrow our school celebrates Holy Thursday by having a whole day retreat where we take our students through a series of prayers and activities designed to get them more prepared to celebrate Easter, the most important day of the year. This retreat is an important day on our school calendar and one that I have come to appreciate more and more as time goes by.
This day is a clear illustration of why I love working at a Catholic School. It means that our faith life and our academic lives don’t have to be separate. Growing up I went to a public school. I would even say I went to a good public school. I finished my schooling with a strong academic background that allowed me to succeed both in University and later in my life. I always felt, however, a disconnect between my internal faith and the way I felt I could live that faith when I went to school. That disconnect disappeared when I started working in a Catholic School. I love that I can have conversations with my students where we can talk about morality and decision making in light of a shared faith.
I have read a lot lately where people are trying to paint independent schools as places of wealthy elititism. This just has not been my lived experience. I am not saying that there are no independent schools that do not take on an air of elitism, but I would be willing to wager that the public schools in those neighbourhoods take on those same attitudes. In my experience, most of the parents that send their kids to Catholic schools do so because they want the values and beliefs that they hold at home to be mirrored by the schools that their kids go to. Most parents that send their kids to Catholic schools want to be closer partners in their children’s school. The Catholic schools that I have worked at (there have been four of them) are not filled with the rich elite. They are filled with families that make sacrifices to send their kids to that school.
I have been very fortunate to work at the schools that I have. I have been surrounded by excellent teaching and non-teaching staffs and supportive parent and parish communities. I look forward to telling you more about my experiences moving forward.