Each January, Catholic Schools Week is an opportunity for Catholic schools across the country to showcase their faith-based education and student success in academics, leadership, volunteerism, the arts and athletics.
It’s also a chance for prospective families to learn what a Catholic school can offer, and for current families, students and alumni to share the great education and experiences they’ve received in a Catholic school classroom.
This year Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated in the Diocese’s 35 schools January 29-February 4. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” Catholic schools have a specific purpose to form students to be good citizens of the world, love God and neighbor and enrich society with the leaven of the gospel and by example of faith.
“As communities of faith, Catholic schools instill in students their destiny to become saints. Academic excellence is the hallmark of Catholic education intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Finally, service is fundamental to Catholic education and the core of Catholic discipleship. Service is intended to help form people who are not only witnesses to Catholic social teaching, but also active participants through social learning,” the National Catholic Educational Association says on its Catholic Schools Week website.
Catholic schools in the Diocese are busy planning their Catholic Schools Week events and activities, such as Masses, open houses, and activities for students, families, faculty, parishioners and the larger community. Events often include recognition of first responders, military personnel, community leaders, bus drivers, teachers and volunteers; special lunches with parents or grandparents; volunteer efforts at local food banks; and lively assemblies or games to heighten school spirit.
Through these events and activities, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to the Church, local communities and the nation.
The Diocese of Harrisburg has 35 Catholic schools, with nearly 10,000 students and 1,000 teachers across PreK through grade 12. Last year, students completed more than 60,000 service hours in their communities. With a 99.8% graduation rate, seniors were offered $38 million in scholarship monies
Catholic schools in the Diocese of Harrisburg continue to grow in both enrollment and academics. From the fall of 2020 to fall of 2021, enrollment in the Diocese’s 35 schools increased by 6%, and increased by nearly 1% more from the fall of 2021 to fall of 2022. Nearly 72% of Diocesan students measured at or above proficiency in reading, 20 points above their Pennsylvania public school counterparts. In math, 77% of Diocesan students measured at or above proficiency, 19 points better than our state public schools.
Connect with a Catholic school near you to learn about enrollment or its Catholic Schools Week activities. Learn more about Catholic schools in the Diocese at www.gocatholicschools.org.
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness