Choosing a school for our children can be a daunting task. We examine the status of the curricular and extra-curricular offerings of each school we are considering. We want to make sure that basic education is done in the most excellent way.
Academic excellence is a given expectation. Every school claims that they have the best preparation for students to make it in college. Still, we are challenged in choosing the right one. Exactly, what are we looking for in a school?
Added Value, it is! We are looking for one or more values in addition to academic excellence. These values are often beyond measurement, but could easily be seen through the students' healthy attitude and character, positive outlook in life, and a joyful, purposeful, and hopeful disposition.
Catholic schools are leaders in the field of "added value." This is because of its intent to teach a faith-based moral character education. Students are invited to engage in a free conversation on the question of the meaning of life. The relevance of this enterprise is timeless. The search for a meaningful existence is still the most important quest in the 21st Century, as it was in centuries past, and will be in the next.
"All academic and non-academic activities are tools of learning, understanding, living according to, and sharing the truth."
Catholic Schools are founded and therefore operate, in the mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the heart of this message is God's love for all, having made humans in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), and calls them in union with him. This is the source of our human dignity. This is the truth that we believe, we proclaim, and we live by. We are made for God, who is love and to him shall we return.
Catholic Schools, in all and with all its facets, are to teach the truth, provide the tools for understanding and application of such truth. All academic and non-academic activities are tools of learning, understanding, living according to, and sharing the truth. St. Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor says, "The splendor of truth shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in man, created in the image and likeness of God. Truth enlightens man's intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord. Hence the Psalmist prays: Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord" (Ps 4:6)."
"Truth enlightens man's intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord.
Hence the Psalmist prays: Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord (Ps 4:6)"
A good educational system is one that goes above and beyond academic excellence and innovation: one that is both avant-garde and yet rooted in a solid foundation of time-tested tradition and believe in the truth of God's love. A good education deals not only of the accumulation of knowledge, but rather points to the relevance of such knowledge to the here and now, to both the near and far future, and above all, to eternity. "The greatest gift of Catholic schooling is the foundational belief that education is about more than just job preparation. It's first and foremost about the journey of the soul." (G.Houchens, 2016)
Catholic education is more than just intellectual growth, it is, rather, a formation of the whole person, who is able to navigate the challenges of living in the 21st Century with certainty of purpose using all the tools provided by the school for the service of his fellowman, journeying towards the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of peace, justice and love, a kingdom that is here and now and yet to come, a kingdom of eternal life.