Catholic Schools: Faith in Every Child

Well, even the longest day can be lifted by a visit to kindergarten. Few things are more delightful than the laughter heard from the playground.

The children in our school are filled with such promise, such potential. Along with them and their parents, our task is to help them develop and use their God-given gifts. We know that every child brings a unique, precious gift, if we have the eyes to see it.

We also know that our mission is uniquely about the task of drawing these children deeper into our Catholic faith with an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ.

In Catholic education, a Holy Cross education, we seek to educate hearts and minds and hands.

Since 2003, the Congregation of Holy Cross has served at St. Adalbert Parish on South Bend’s west side. St. Adalbert, the Krakow parish and a home to Poles for almost one-hundred years, has seen a tremendous shift in its demographics as the neighborhood has become significantly Hispanic.
As with many ethnic parishes, the 1950s were the heydays. Six priests lived in the rectory, perhaps as many as a dozen Felician Sisters in the convent. A giant school of 900 children produced good Catholics, good students, and, especially at St. Adalbert, good football players. Then everything changed. For the past twenty years, rumor circulated that the school at St. Adalbert might close. In 2003, we had just 93 students.

However, we are “men with hope to bring” as our Constitutions call us. St. Adalbert Parish serves one of South Bend’s poor neighborhoods. We aspire to be a beacon of hope to our neighbors. One place where we fulfill those hopes is in the classroom. St. Adalbert School has the highest diversity and serves the lowest income students of any school in the Diocese of Fort Wayne- South Bend. More than 80% of our children come from below poverty line. That means that a family of four might live on about $19,000 per year, and they will contribute perhaps 10% of their income toward their children’s education in our Catholic school.

However, we are “men with hope to bring” as our Constitutions call us. St. Adalbert Parish serves one of South Bend’s poor neighborhoods. We aspire to be a beacon of hope to our neighbors. One place where we fulfill those hopes is in the classroom. St. Adalbert School has the highest diversity and serves the lowest income students of any school in the Diocese of Fort Wayne- South Bend. More than 80% of our children come from below poverty line. That means that a family of four might live on about $19,000 per year, and they will contribute perhaps 10% of their income toward their children’s education in our Catholic school.

Parents sacrifice because we make a difference. Research done by Notre Dame shows that our students typically transfer into St. Adalbert two years below grade level. For example, a fourth grader reads and writes on a second-grade level. The research indicates that within two years, the same child is reading and writing at grade level. Thus, that same child, now a sixth grader at St. Adalbert is reading and writing at a sixth-grade level. Our school has been recognized under Indiana’s version of the No Child Left Behind Act as an “exemplary” school every year that the law has been on the books. As a consequence, we now enroll more than double the children we had six years ago.

Please pray for and support Catholic schools, where we have faith in every child!

Catholic Schools: Dividends for Life

Today begins Catholic Schools Week. St. Adalbert Parish is blessed with an "exemplary" Catholic school-- it is not just me saying so-- the State of Indiana has agreed every year that they have been evaluating Hoosier schools!

Bishop Kevin Rhoades, pictured at left, said it well: "A Catholic school is not just a physical place; it is a spiritual reality" as it is commissioned to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

That reality, built on Christ, requires students (naturally), devoted faculty and staff, parents, friends, clergy and religious. An "exemplary" teacher is Annette Romans, sitting to the left of Msgr. Bill Schooler (in the front row). Annette goes above and beyond the call of duty with her students. She serves on our school board. She works closely with parents in the Home And School Association (HASA). Annette was named our Light of Learning winner for 2010. Thank you, Annette, for all you are and do!

Thanks, too, to all who have a part in making St. Adalbert an exemplary Catholic school.

(And thanks, Mom and Dad, for the sacrifices to send me and my siblings to Catholic schools!)