The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

We salute those who make our schools strong

National Catholic Schools Week a time to celebrate faithful education in Arkansas

Published: January 28, 2016   
Vernell Bowen

During National Catholic Schools Week, the Diocese of Little Rock has many things to celebrate.

Over the past 13 years as I have visited with students in classrooms in the Catholic schools in our diocese, I have been amazed at the ability of students to express what they are learning academically, but more important is what they share in thoughts and actions about service to others. The Catholic schools in the Diocese of Little Rock are living testimonial to the theme for Catholic Schools Week: “Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”

I would like to pay tribute to the classroom teachers and the administrative leaders of the schools. Without the commitment of those who lead and teach our students in the faith, the Catholic schools would be little more than just private schools. I wish I could take each parent with me on my visits to the schools to experience what is happening in our schools on a daily basis. 

We should celebrate and recognize the parish and benefactors who support the schools financially, and through prayers and volunteerism. Many of the parochial schools in the diocese have been in existence for more than 100 years.  This is a testament to the strong support from pastors and parishioners, benefactors, school board members and alumni.

Parents who are the child’s first teacher should be celebrated and recognized for the sacrifices they make to send their children to receive a well-rounded, faith-filled education in our Catholic schools.

Students should be celebrated for their academic accomplishments and service to others.  Students in Catholic schools score above the national average on standardized tests. Those attending Catholic schools from elementary through high school have a graduation rate of 99 percent compared to the 78 percent graduation rate from public schools. Students graduating from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Little Rock were offered more than $3 million in scholarships last year.

The faculty, staff and administrators should be honored and celebrated for their dedication for carrying out this mission of the Church. Many of the teachers accept this as a ministry and with lower pay than most of their public school counterparts. This diocese is blessed to have more than 600 employees in our schools who are dedicated to providing a strong educational opportunity and support system to the families they serve.  

I pray that we never lose focus of our mission of education in Catholic schools … “Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”

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