Around this time every year, we celebrate Catholic Schools Week with our Catholic School community and show our town community what is so unique and special about a Catholic education through activities and events that highlight what a catholic education is about.
A parent’s choice of a Catholic school for their child is a personal one. Catholic schools offer a strong and consistent academic education infused within a faith-based curriculum. It is through this Christ centered environment that we are unique and can help our students make a difference in their lives to reach their full potential. We help our students go into the world to be life-giving members of society who are highly skilled, tolerant, loving and just.
Being a product of Catholic education, I was blessed to be able to follow suit and send my own children to Catholic schools. Each day I was amazed to see how they took what they learned and apply it to their everyday life. They were stewards of their faith and wanted to make a difference in the world. When I asked my son why he thought it was important to bring food in for a food drive one day, he replied: “Because it is who we are and what we do. We help those less fortunate because we can.”
This is what Catholic schools do best. We immerse our children in the Gospel values so that they are the living Christ: Christ’s arms, Christ’s legs, here on earth, to minister to His people.
As Pope Benedict said, Catholic schools are “first and foremost…. a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals His transforming love and truth.”
I have been both a Catholic school educator and administrator for over 30 years. This is my first year at Saint Bartholomew Academy. I feel blessed to be welcomed into such a caring and loving community who not only supports, but celebrates its faculty, staff and students. All who enter here are truly welcomed as Christ. Our teachers are dedicated educators who are partners with our parents to help fulfill the school’s mission. Teaching is not only their profession, but it is their ministry. This has been most evident this year as they work through a world pandemic to provide face to face and virtual instruction to our students. Faculty, staff, parents, and administration have created a safe and protective atmosphere where our students feel safe to learn.
Catholic education as a whole and Saint Bartholomew Academy are continuously striving to update students’ educational and technological instruction to meet their 21st century needs. In our academic world, we have added a STEM lab, one-on-one Chromebook instruction, Smart boards in every classroom, and a new math and reading curriculum. In our faith world, we are attending Mass together, participating in a kindness campaign and providing social-emotional class activities for our students.
When these two worlds collide, a Catholic education at St. Bartholomew Academy offers a well-balanced education for “the whole child.”
St. Bartholomew Academy (2032 Westfield Ave., Scotch Plains) is dedicated to offering students the opportunity of growing in the faith, of accepting its values, and of living the principles of truth, charity, and Christian hope. In this environment, SBA students are encouraged to strive for their maximum academic potential and spiritual growth. In keeping with this mission, students are encouraged to 1) Strive academically, 2) Build character, and 3) Achieve their goals. For more information, call (908) 322-4265.
Learn about Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Newark by visiting www.catholicschoolsnj.org.
This article and photograph originally appeared as a guest column in TAPinto.net, and was reprinted here with permission. The author, Kimberly Harrigan, is the principal of St. Bartholomew Academy in Scotch Plains.