The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Praise for school staff, parents who made school year work

Published: April 23, 2021   
Theresa Hall

Alleluia! Alleluia! Words that are not said or sung during Lent remind us of the 40 years of the Israelites roaming the desert.

Lent is a time to focus on our prayer life. The 40 days of wandering in our own spiritual journey for repentance of our sins and acknowledging our weaknesses and our failures. It is a time to reflect and focus on what we can do to become a better people. Then on the night of Easter vigil, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia is sung loud and clear. Triumphantly, we made it through our Lenten journey.

This year, the principals, teachers, students and, yes, even the parents have been on a long journey not just 40 days but soon to be 178 days, the number of days in our calendar year for school to be in session. While this school year looked very different and has been extremely challenging for everyone in education because of COVID-19, I have been repeatedly impressed by the creativity, the resilience and the hopefulness that have sustained our Catholic schools through this difficult period.

Robert W. Service said, “It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out, it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” The principals of our Catholic schools are determined to make it over that mountain, the end of this year. But to get there, they had to plan for a lot of sand in their shoes.

Principals formed crisis committees last summer, and they began developing plans for their individual schools. These plans included directives for drop-off and pick-up of students, guidelines for wearing masks, protocols for health screening of all who enter the building, visitor restrictions, social distancing guidelines, cleaning procedures, plans for eating lunch, recess guidance, directives for their children attending Mass, providing social and emotional resources for students and staff, deciding on the best communication method to use and other important decisions that had to be prearranged.

Some days the school day would run nice and smoothly, and then there were other days when the principals wondered where did the time go and what did they accomplish that day. The sand in their shoes felt more like large pebbles. Then there were days when a student or even a staff member would test positive for the coronavirus and the contact tracing had to be completed. On these days, that grain of sand feels more like a boulder in the shoe.

But through all the struggles this year, the goal has been the same; to stay focused on the Catholicity in the school, praying with the school community, providing an excellent education and caring for all students and their families. So as we come to the end of this school year, our principals, teachers, students and, yes, even the parents are saying Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

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