Catholic Schools Week - A Reflection by Ryan Bilodeau

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Writing an essay in history class helps students to synthesize big ideas.

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Catholic Schools Week — A Reflection by Ryan Bilodeau Ryan Bilodeau Jan 23 2020·3 min read Catholic schools week will soon be upon us and there is much to reflect on be thankful for and proud of as Catholic educators. A couple of months ago I wrote an article about my high school English teacher and the role he played in my spiritual development as a teenager. In it I argued that the role of a teacher is not only to impart academic information but also to set an example for what a healthy and holy life looks like. In Mr. Lawrence I had a model of consistency inside and outside of the classroom. His example taught me the value of good habits or what was defined in religion class as virtue.

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The inescapable reality about education you see is that it is inevitably holistic. Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash Students learning math are at the same time internalizing the value of persistence. Writing an essay in history class helps students to synthesize big ideas. Coaches pushing their players on the athletic field are promoting the value of hard work. But even bigger in scope and breadth are the lessons attained in a Catholic school setting. The Diocese of Manchester NH highlights this when speaking of education: Every family wants their son or daughter to excel in school to be the best version of themselves to Shine Brighter in Catholic schools. And that ’s exactly what our schools offer families.

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Students shine brighter because they ’re in a safe community they are known and loved and formed to be faith-filled leaders strengthened by the love of Christ. Helping “students shine brighter ” is a weighty responsibility but simultaneously a great gift. The Congregation for Catholic Education goes a step further in placing a spotlight on the vocational nature of teaching: “Teaching has an extraordinary moral depth and is one of man ’s most excellent and creative activities for the teacher does not write on inanimate material but on the very spirits of human beings. ” Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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Wow. Think about that The teacher writes “on the very spirit of human beings. ” Going to work each morning definitely takes on a different meaning when considering this reality. So why in summary should one attend a Catholic school Father Ronald Nuzzi of the University of Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education answers best in terms of the value of relationships as a reflection of the Divine: Catholic school students learn to experience God ’s grace and presence in their lives through their relationships with family friends and teachers. The loving and supportive relationships they experience are reflections of the love and life-giving dynamic of the Trinity. As a community we celebrate our successes and achievements. We share grief and downfalls. We unite together in solidarity and even challenge each other to become better reflections of the divine. We are made for community. Catholic schools prepare young men and women for life as successful scientists or authors or engineers. But more importantly Catholic schools prepare our students for a lifelong relationship with God that spans from this life into the next. -Ryan Bilodeau