Catholic Schools Week celebrates accolades, accomplishments, contributions of parochial schools

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Succeed: St. Celestine School in Elmwood Park celebrates Catholic School Week, which aligns with their school motto: believe, achieve, succeed. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

With roots dating back to 1904, The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is the largest U.S. private network membership organization that promotes Catholic education, awareness and advocacy. Currently, the NCEA is endorsing Catholic Schools Week (CSW), which kicks off next week on Sunday, Jan. 27. This annual and thematic celebration of Catholic education highlights the many earned accolades, accomplishments and contributions to society that each participating school has demonstrated.

Characteristically, Catholic schools commemorate this special week - a joint venture between the NCEA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops - with masses, open houses, student activities, family participation and the involvement of parishioners as well as the community. The theme for this year's CSW is: Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.

"At Saint Giles, Catholic Schools Week is a time to celebrate the exceptional education we provide, our unity in faith and our supportive community," said Beth Linnen, director of development at Saint Giles School in Oak Park. "The week will start out with a special Mass and open house that is filled with special activities, including student displays on Catholic churches from around the world that provide faith education for children."

Patti Madormo, vice principal at Saint Vincent Ferrer School in River Forest also said: "This is a week of a celebration of our faith beginning with a family mass. We highlight the week with a math competition and a teacher verses student volleyball game."

"Our families commit themselves to the mission of Catholic education; celebrating Catholic Schools Week is a part of that," said Mary Ann Feeney, principal at Notre Dame School in Clarendon Hills. "We take time out each year to celebrate our faith, family, friendships, morals and service."

St. Celestine School in Elmwood Park begins the week with a family liturgy, Mass, open houses, classroom visits, plays, speaking and athletic competitions and a celebration of faith and service via card making for seniors and veterans. The week wraps up with a teacher appreciation lunch and an evening carnival fair.

"The theme of Catholic Schools Week this year fits because we truly try to reach the goal of raising the standards every year at St. Celestine School," said Jeanine Rocchi, principal at St. Celestine School. "Catholic Schools Week is a wonderful time to showcase our school. During our open house the local community has a chance to experience the many fine programs and meet the parents and staff that make up our place of faith-filled learning."

Another school following suit is Saint Patrick High School, the oldest Catholic boys high school in Chicago.

"Saint Pat's starts off the week with a special all-school mass, which focuses on Catholic education. We have special prayers each day during our announcements," said Janet Coffey, director of marketing and corporate and foundation relations at Saint Patrick.