Catholic Schools Week

Katherine Gray
Gray applies experience at Scared Heart to adult life
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     National Catholic Schools Week is celebrated Jan. 29 through Feb. 4 this year.

     The theme is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”

     Sacred Heart Catholic School in Monticello encompasses grades kindergarten through sixth, as well as a preschool program.

     On the faith side, students and their families are involved in parish programs, supporting the church and the school.

     Sacred Hart raises the standards academically. The average class size is 13, but enrollment is not limited to Catholic families.

     “We welcome, and have, families from other faiths as well,” the school notes.

     Studies show that parents choose a Catholic school because:

     • Of the superior academic achievement

     • Of a secure and disciplined environment

     • Of a total education that includes growth in religious awareness and an appreciation of morals and values

     During Catholic Schools Week, Sacred Heart students reach out to the community, thanking those businesses that support the school year round.

     Throughout the school year, the students visit Monticello Nursing & Rehabilitation Campus to sing songs to the residents and read to them. They collect donations for the food pantry. They make Christmas, Valentine, and thank-you cards for veterans. They decorate centerpieces for church dinners. These are just many of the service projects the school takes on.

     The school has many events planned throughout Catholic Schools Week:

     • Sunday, Jan. 29 – Students will cantor and speak at the weekend Masses.

     • Monday, Jan. 30 – Crazy Hat and Sock Day. Business Appreciation Day. Bowling for grades kindergarten, third and fifth. Sacred Heart night at Pizza Ranch.

     • Tuesday, Jan. 31 – PJ Day. Mr. Spencer will read to all grade levels.

     • Wednesday, Feb. 1 – Wacky Wednesday. Knights of Columbus Spelling Bee for grades fourth, fifth, and sixth.

     • Thursday, Feb. 2 – Parents Day and Sacred Heart Spirit Day. Wear Sacred Heart shirts and/or red and gold. School Liturgy for parents and students at 10:45 a.m. Camp Courageous pool party for all grades.

     One’s experience attending a Catholic School leaves a lasting impression. For Katherine Gray, a senior at Iowa State University, she’s grown from the lessons learned while at Sacred Heart.

     Gray attended the school from first grade through sixth when she merged with the middle school.

     She said the one-on-one teaching experience at Sacred Heart with the smaller classes allowed her to work through issues with her teachers.

     “We were able to do more group activities and I just got to know my classmates better,” said Gray.

     With about a dozen kids in her class all through elementary school, Gray said there were only two boys with so many girls until they hit fourth grade.

     She said one main difference between a public school and a parochial school is the faith-based curriculum.

     “I also felt that because it was a smaller school,” said Gray, “that I could express myself more.”

     She said they prayed before lunch at school, and had reflection time.

     “The biggest thing are the values I take away and how I can apply them to my life,” Gray said. She added that the Golden Rule still applies.

     Gray said the Buddy System at Sacred Heart, pairing an older student to a younger one, helped her come out of her shell more as well.

     As with any school, friendship groups are formed, but Gray said she still knew everyone in her class, the entire school for that matter.

     Going from a class of 10 at Sacred Heart to 98 in high school, she said she still knew those in her grade level.

     Once she hit her senior year of high school, Gray said those who attended Sacred Heart made the effort to come back to the school to visit their teachers.

     “You still remain part of the school family,” she said.

     As she looks forward to graduating ISU in may with a degree in animal science, Gray said her time at Sacred Heart prepared her for the future.

     “There was emphasis on community involvement,” she said.

     Gray has volunteered her time with the fair and Extension and 4-H services over the years, remembering her roots. In college, she became active in clubs and different organizations as well around campus.

     Gray is finishing her last semester at ISU online, and works full-time at the Jones County Extension Office in Monticello.


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