Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Volunteers and Donors Set Shining Example for Students at Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School

The generous efforts of volunteers and donors and the ardent work of teachers are reaching students in empowering ways at Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School.

Special classroom guests, recess volunteers and others engaged in the school community are assisting in fulfilling its mission to “encourage students to appreciate each other and share their God-given talents” while challenging them to academic success and shared responsibility.

“They’re showing our students how to be generous, kind and giving,” principal Joy Bearley said of the dedicated volunteers and teachers who’ve contributed to the life of the school this year. “Their kindness and generosity reaffirm what we’re teaching them, and it gives students one more lesson, in addition to what they see in their textbooks or hear from their teacher in class.”

This school year included visits from Trinity High School students to decorate desserts at Christmastime, unique mathematics lessons on Leap Day, and an interactive lesson on flags from a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The students were also gifted with several dozen books by Black, Hispanic and Latino authors. It was an especially welcome gesture on the part of the Pennsylvania Literacy Council, Bearley said.

“Students want to see someone who looks like them, or someone they hope to be, when they open the pages of a book. Books authored by people who are Black, Hispanic or Latino are very much appreciated by our students,” said Bearley. At Harrisburg Catholic, 41 percent of the student body is Black.

Every student received a book for their grade level. The middle school students were presented with their own copy of Congressman John Lewis’ book of short stories that provides lessons on kindness, optimism and good sportsmanship. “They had several engaging stories, short pieces they could enjoy. When you’re struggling to find something of interest, books like this make a huge impact, and students are more eager to read what they can identify with,” Bearley said.

Teachers and administrators are also focused on students’ academic success, social responsibility and Christian growth. Throughout the year, they employ interactive lesson plans in the classroom, food and clothing drives for the less fortunate, and teachable moments during Holy Mass.

“Of the entire student body, 50% are not Catholic. We are intentional about being role models, about living out our Catholic values,” Bearley said.

“Our teachers come up with great ways to share lessons, inviting students to participate in class and at Mass. That level of activity helps lessons stick with children,” she said.

Bearley said she considers the combined efforts of students, volunteers, visitors and donors as a completed jigsaw puzzle, with each person as a vital piece of the big picture.

“We have parents who are good at setting an example for lesson X, volunteers who are good at bringing lesson Y to life, and teachers who have their own strengths and gifts. The students see how everything comes together for them. All the pieces work together as a model for our kids,” she said.

(Photos courtesy of Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

- Advertisement -spot_img

Submission Deadline

The deadline for submissions to the biweekly Notebook/Parish Obituaries listing is every other Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Please refer to the Publication Schedule for edition dates and deadlines.

Other News