By John Harmon
Acting Superintendent of Catholic Schools
The Catholic School year is filled with many exciting days from the first day of school to the end of the year and the ultimate celebration – graduation. I have many fond memories of my time as principal at Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Anchorage. And some of my best memories occurred during National Catholic Schools Week.
National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It’s been celebrated since 1974 and starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week. This year, the dates are January 31 – February 6. The theme for National Catholic Schools Week 2021 is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.”
Why is this week so exciting? Well, Catholic Schools Week provides each school with the opportunity to celebrate the Catholic faith in many different ways, from Mass to dedicated activities and events. The week recognizes the amazing contributions of our schools and brings together students, families, parishioners, and community members. The events of the week focus on the value Catholic education provides to our youth and the contributions of the school to our church, our communities, and our nation.
In past years, all of the Catholic Schools in the Anchorage area gathered together to celebrate an all-school Mass. Although such a large gathering is not possible this year due to COVID-19, each school will celebrate Mass with their local community. Past events, such “student shares” at local parishes and open houses will continue, albeit in slightly different formats. This is a wonderful opportunity to share the benefits of Catholic education!
What are some of the benefits of Catholic education? Documented results show that students who attend Catholic schools receive solid academic training in a supportive learning environment. And more importantly, the students are introduced to Catholic values. They develop self-discipline, learn to accept responsibility, and are taught to respect others – in essence, becoming life-long learners grounded in the faith.
If you want to learn more about the benefits and blessings of our Catholic schools and the activities that our schools are planning for this year’s Catholic Schools Week, please reach out to the local Catholic School in your area or visit our website at www.aoaj.org.