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Teachers weigh in on Catholic education’s value

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Teachers weigh in on Catholic education’s value

“We raise our voices to the Lord in many ways,” reads the caption for this picture of the children’s choir in the choir loft being directed by one of the nuns who were the first teachers at the new...

Photo contributed/


POSTED January 30, 2014 1:20 a.m.

The dozen or so teachers at St. Anthony of Padua School headed by Principal Mary Lou Hoffman are all certificated. That means they have the option, and could have chosen, to teach at any public school and perhaps reap more in benefits in the process.

Instead, they dedicated their talents to teaching students at the Catholic School.

With that in mind, the teachers were posed the following questions: What, in their opinion, is the value of Catholic education today? What makes it relevant in this day and age? And what do they think are the challenges that Catholic schools face today?

Below are the teachers’ thoughts on the above questions:

• What is the value of education today?

Carolyn Cano – “Catholic education has a pivotal role for today’s child. It provides a rigorous education that focuses on training children to be leaders for the future. Our students tend to be above grade level and are guided for excellence as a well-rounded student. Our Catholic faith is part of the everyday experience. We practice this faith everyday as well in our actions to the rest of the world. It is who we are and will continue to be everything that makes us Catholic.”

Michelle Crowley – “To me, the value of a Catholic education is the student’s exposure to his/her faith.”

Kim Morenzone – “(The) ability to teach Catholic morals, build community and faith, (and) continue Jesus’ mission of caring and serving others.”

Sharon Oberman – “A Catholic education is important, especially in today’s society, because it instills values, morals, and respect in our children and young adults that is sadly lacking in many aspects of greater society. Children educated in Catholic schools emerge better people who possess empathy and compassion as well as the sense of greater good. The impact they have on those around them by their actions contributes to the betterment of those around (them) and helps positively impact society one person at a time. I know that my children and those at the school are respectful, have a positive sense of self and community, and will help others and project a positive image to those they come in contact with. “

Deborah Fox – “The value of a Catholic education today is to provide a model of the beliefs and practices of the Catholic faith as followers of Christ our Lord with care and love to all students.”

• What is the relevance of Catholic education in this day and age?

Carolyn Cano – “Catholic education stands out because a student who leaves our schools does well in whatever school they are headed toward. They show the Light of Christ as they live their day-to-day experiences. Their life is a walking, active, loving, and heartfelt example of what they have experienced. It is something that can be seen by others.”

Kim Morenzone – “(The) students’ ability to make decisions based on Catholic teachings; leadership, confidence, and speaking and writing skills in our students.”

Sharon Oberman – “Catholic education stands out because values are straightforward and enforced. In public schools, things tend to be too political or watered down as to not offend anyone, which results in a lack of respect for different cultures and people, and sometimes self. Society is a very me-oriented environment that can negatively affect people in general and impact one’s sense of self, unless it is already strong and individuals believe in something greater than themselves. Catholic school students emerge with a strong sense of self and God, which helps them put things into better perspective as they move on in life and meet others different from themselves. “

Deborah Fox – “Catholic education stands out in this day and age because students are provided with highly educated teachers, who inspire, motivate and challenge all students to achieve their best academically, spiritually, and socially with Christ as the leader.”

• What do you think are the challenges facing Catholic schools today?

Claudette Alves – “Financial - affordability for parents weighed against the costs of running a school.”

Carolyn Cano – “The challenges that face Catholic schools can be numerous. Money is a common problem where some schools do not have enough student body to keep schools open. Textbooks are out of date. Technology does not fit with the common time. Money is not always there for “extras” where a teacher will dig deep to make magic happen. Most parents can no longer send their children to our schools because they can’t afford it. Some students need special services such as counseling, tutoring, speech, special education, and additional services that cannot be accommodated. “

Michelle Crowley – “I believe our biggest challenge is the lack of teamwork between the parent and the teacher.”

Kim Morenzone – “Funding for programs and technology, and (decreasing) attendance due to charter schools.”

Sharon Oberman – “The challenge that comes to mind is people feeding into the media hype on scandals within the Catholic Church and not wanting to potentially expose their children. Additionally, people often think that the academic standards might not be on par with the public school system.”

Deborah Fox – “The challenges Catholic Schools face are numerous in the current changing complexities in the current society. A few examples are: (1) The role of parents modeling Catholic values and beliefs are declining. Weekly attendance to mass is not consistent , (2)The family unit and structure has changed from a married household to many single-parent households which places a financial burden and participation difficulties in school activities and, (3) Advances in technology is evolving quickly which are costly and difficult administratively to provide and compete with charter schools.

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