Catholic Schools: Where students learn, serve, lead and succeed

Reflections from a Catholic school teacher

By Jannette Rodriguez
For Today’s Catholic

Catholic education is a unique way in which we can give our children a solid foundation in life and a brighter tomorrow deeply rooted in Catholic family values. Our schools are like a garden that needs to be prepared and nurtured for harvest, and what a better way to do that than with the teaching of religion? This is where our students are prepared spiritually, where we enrich their faith daily, and the necessary skills to enhance all other academic areas are developed. This spiritual learning begins at an early age with singing, prayers, Bible reading, liturgical participation, and service to others.

Our dedicated priests, principals, administrators and staff commit themselves to professional excellence and ensure that all who serve and work with our students receive the best quality education. Catholic schools are indeed the best choice in education in our city and around the country. Every seven years, a rigorous accreditation study occurs to validate our growth, needs, and standards to prepare for the future education of our students. Our curriculum provides rich opportunities for all to learn and grow in a safe environment and exceeds the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Education Department requirements. Our students are well prepared with rigorous standards in Reading, Math, STEM, Social Studies, Physical Education, and Technology.

Extracurricular activities and clubs like Athletics, CYO, Cheer, Dance, Robotics, Music, Art, and Chess, are what makes us the strong community that we are. Our Catholic schools’ standards are aligned with Texas Essentials Knowledge Skills, as well as Catholic identity, Gospel values, Beatitudes and social teachings.

Our Catholic schools also serve in various ways throughout our communities. We take part in service projects to help alleviate the burden of those in need; collecting school supplies for students, participating in Thanksgiving food drives for St. Vincent de Paul, singing to our retired priests and religious, collecting toys and clothing for needy families, and helping our parishes in special events and activities, parades, and fundraising.

Catholic education is my life and my ministry. I know the importance of the everyday interactions with my students, and the story behind each face before me in my classroom. Experiences in life make us who we are. Each August, God sends me new stars (my students) to care for, nurture, love and shine. Each one is a special creation of God, with special gifts and needs. I just help to direct the learning and guide each of them in their new journey at school. One of the most rewarding gifts for me is when my former students come back to visit our school or when they invite me to graduations. It is a special privilege when parents tell me how well their son or daughter is doing at the University or when former students come and enroll their own children to be part of another generation in Catholic education.

As a mother of a Catholic school student, I know personally the many sacrifices parents have to make, but rest assured, resources are available, and the rewards are endless when you provide your child with a Catholic education.

Jannette Rodriguez is the archdiocesan Teacher of the Year for 2017

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