I have exciting news! We just transferred my daughter into a Catholic School for Kindergarten! We had hoped to put her in the class back in August, but we couldn’t afford it.
I had come to terms with the school we sent her to, and was trying really hard to trust that’s where God wanted her, but I always desired to send her to Catholic school. I am the product of Catholic education myself: I attended Catholic high school as a non-Catholic, and it really opened my eyes to the service side of the Church and the love of a Catholic community. I credit it as the foundational beginning for my conversion to the faith. Following my conversion I worked as a Catholic school office secretary and later as a Catholic school teacher. I am passionate about the Catholic school system and love to celebrate the gift that it is to our children and to our Church.
One day over Christmas vacation, my daughter came up to me with two one-dollar bills and gave them to me. When I asked her why she was giving me her money, she said, “Mommy, I want you to save this so you can pay for me to go to first grade at my cousin’s (Catholic) school.”
That did it: I knew it was time to make things work. If I was considering sending her for first grade, why not push to get her in now?
As if I needed another sign, on Christmas Eve, my mother-in-law set up a Posadas for my kids to participate in. Afterward she asked them if they understood what they saw or if they had any questions about what we did.
My five-year-old son raised his hand, and I admit I held my breath waiting to hear what he’d ask. Boy was I shocked! He said something to the effect of,”So we receive Jesus into our hearts at Holy Communion?” We all just stood there staring at him. At this point I felt compelled to get him into Catholic school because I wanted his love and knowledge of Jesus to be fostered daily in the classroom.
At Christmas Mass, it became clear to me that now was the time to move my daughter. After Mass, I nervously asked my husband, assuming he’d remind me that we couldn’t afford it and his response was, “Well I’m teaching an extra class this semester so if my extra period stipend will cover tuition then we can use that.” It ended up being enough and that was that! I signed her up the day the school returned from Christmas vacation.
We couldn’t be happier with our choice and it seems like my daughter has grown up so much overnight. She loves the school and transitioned beautifully into the class. It really seems as though she has been in that classroom all year! The other families have been so welcoming, I already made “mommy” friends, and have been instructed on the right way to drive through the parking lot during drop-off/pick-up time, an essential skill for a carpooling parent!
January has flown by and now we’re getting ready for Catholic Schools Week. For those of you who are unaware about this tradition, it’s a nationally celebrated week where Catholic schools offer open houses, as well as daily special events throughout the week in order to honor the gift of Catholic education.
This year’s national theme is Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service. The week started on Sunday, January 26.
At our school’s parish, as is common for other schools too, there is a Sunday Mass celebration where the school’s students attend with their families and then there is a school open house after Mass. If you’ve considered, or are considering Catholic education, I encourage you to find out what events are being offered at your local school and to try to at least attend the open house.
To learn more about Catholic Schools Week in general, please visit the National Catholic Educational Association’s website.
May God continue to bless our Catholic schools and may our children grow in their education and in their love for the Church.
Copyright 2014 Courtney Vallejo
photo credit: Gamma Man via photopin cc