As the summer activities like camps and vacations begin to wind down, everyone begins to look forward to the routine of a new school year. The excitement of buying new school supplies, getting new schedules, and reconnecting with classmates is something that students greatly anticipate. Teachers and parents look forward to settling into a new routine after the hustle and bustle of the summer. Having a thriving parochial school is a huge blessing for our church family and we look forward to the new school year and the exciting changes that will be taking place in our St. Patrick School community.
“Our Catholic school provides a safe, well-rounded foundation for our students,” says Casey Ball, a school parent and a member of the School Advisory Council. “It works to arm them with the tools of the faith. At this school, we strive to embed the values of our faith into our students every day so that they have a firm foundation of faith and truth as they continue into high school, college, and someday into their own families as well.”
One very exciting addition to our school will be the opening of an Early Childhood Center, located at the Parish Center, sometime this fall. This center will have eight infant spots and 12 toddler spots available.
“We are very excited about the Early Childhood Center opening,” Casey says. “Not only does it provide more childcare for the area, but it will continue to feed into our school program. Our enrollment is up, which is wonderful. We are working to keep our classrooms healthy-sized while maintaining a great learning environment!”
There will also be a few adjustments to staff this year, with Lisa Howell teaching kindergarten, Brook Boen teaching third grade, Abby Schwalje teaching art and assisting as an aide for third through fifth grades, and Faith Sloane as kindergarten through second-grade aide.
“Having this school as a part of our community is so important to us,” Casey says. “We want our faith to start at home in the domestic church. We use our schools as an opportunity to continue to expose our kids to God and our faith on a regular basis. The bonus is that our children get a great education at the same time. We have invested teachers that love these kids and are always so innovative in finding different ways to engage the students.”
Finishing touches on the renovation to the science lab will be wrapped up by the beginning of the school year. This project was made possible by a very generous gift from an anonymous donor, who provided a wonderful donation to fund new science equipment — in turn, this meant that the lab needed a better arrangement to make the new equipment more functional.
The relationship between the school and the parish is a vital one. The school is the parish’s largest ministry. By bringing children into the school and immersing them in a great educational environment that is rooted in the faith, these families are in turn involved in the parish community.
“We have such a generous parish community that loves and supports this school and wants to see it thrive,” Casey says. “It is necessary that we have them or we as a school could not continue to run. On the flip side, we encourage our families to come to Mass and be active in the parish as well. We want the whole community to thrive and for the involvement of the school families and the parishioners to be a way of life for everyone. Through that, we will all grow closer to Christ.”
At the school, there are daily opportunities for parishioners to volunteer. The school can always use help with before and after school care, recess duty, and lunch duty.
“The children see the parishioners who volunteer in the school as role models,” Casey says. “They see them investing their time and talent into their education. It helps to create a sense of community and belonging within the school and church family when they see parishioners at the school and then they see them at Mass. It is a special opportunity for people to invest in the children who are our future.”
As the students and staff of St. Patrick’s School head into a new academic year, we pray for the Holy Spirit to fill their minds and hearts as they seek the truth and beauty of God through their education.
For anyone interested in volunteering in the school, contact Karen Mistretta at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the school, visit school.stpatsrolla.org.