Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York

Catholic Schools

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A Dozen Reasons to Choose a Catholic School
Sister Ellen Rose Coughlin, SSJ
Superintendent of Schools

                eduweekEvery morning as I drive to work I pass an abandoned house. When I first noticed the house some ten years ago it had the “empty look” of an uninhabited, unattended building. Over the years the house has continued to deteriorate. A section of the roof has caved in, windows have been broken and the clapboards have fallen off or hang insecurely from portions of the house. Now the house tilts precariously to one side with wide open spaces on all sides of the building. I suspect it will not survive another season. A spring wind will likely bring the house down.

                The house reminds me of Jesus’ saying about building a house. He drew a comparison between the wise man who built his house on rock and the foolish man who built his house on sandy ground. The house built on rock withstood torrents of rain and wind. “It did not collapse; it had been solidly set on rock” (Mt. 7:25). It was a different story for the house built on sand. “The rains fell, the torrents came, the winds blew and lashed against the house. It collapsed under all this and was completely ruined” (Mt 7:27).

                A Catholic school education offers a firm foundation . . . a firm foundation in faith, knowledge, community and service to others. A Catholic education prepares children and young people to live as children of God who are destined for eternal life.

                Recently I saw a poster provided by the National Catholic Education Association which listed a dozen reasons for choosing a Catholic school. Catholic schools:

  • offer an education that combines Catholic faith and teachings with academic excellence.
  • partner with parents in the faith formation of their children.
  • set high standards for student achievement and help them succeed.
  • provide a balanced academic curriculum that integrates faith, culture and life.
  • use technology effectively to enhance education.
  • instill in students the value of service to others.
  • teach children respect for self and others.
  • emphasize moral development and self-disciple.
  • prepare students to be productive citizens and future leaders.
  • have a 99 percent high school graduation rate.
  • cultivate a faculty and staff of people who are dedicated, caring and effective.
  • provide a safe and welcoming environment for all.

                During the past year we have been encouraged to take to heart these words: Fine your home in Christ: Renew Faith, Nurture Hope, Discover Love. Our home is indeed in Christ. When we listen to and live His word, He comes to us and makes His home in us. We live in Him. He is the foundation of our lives. Unlike the house I drive by daily that is slowly crumbling and soon will be unable to withstand the elements, our house, when it is built on Christ, stands firm.

                A Catholic school education is a vital means to pass on our faith, the strong foundation that will prepare our children and young people for life both here and hereafter. The twelve Catholic schools spread across our dioceses will be holding registration for the 2015-16 school year in the coming weeks. If you have school aged children and live in an area where one of our Catholic schools is located I hope you will call the principal and arrange to visit the school. Experience first-hand the “dozen reasons for choosing a Catholic school.”