By Deb Euteneuer
Catholic Schools teach the Catholic faith along with working on life skills that will take a student far as a caring, giving adult. This year’s logo for Catholic Schools’ Week is “Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Our students learn about the principles of Catholic social teaching, and teachers help the students put them into practice. We learn how to treat each other with respect and to also respect others in any situation they may be in at the time.
Each year, our teachers will look for ways that our students can help others in the community and worldwide. We are not alone on this planet God has given us, and we need to look beyond ourselves to keep with the Lord’s teachings.
Our curriculum is based on standards that every school has to follow, yet it is also infused with the teachings of the Catholic faith that set us apart from other schools. We thank God every day for the teachers, parents and students that attend our Catholic schools and celebrate God’s love by helping others. Here are just two examples we have from our middle school at St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School in Brainerd.
Chrysa Kostecka, middle school teacher
At St Francis of the Lakes Catholic School, we use an anti-bullying curriculum known as Steps to Respect. Toward the end of the curriculum, the eighth grade was learning about Goal Setting Skills. They were divided into three different groups and given the directive to set a goal, make sure that it was clearly defined, measurable, and something that they could accomplish on their own. I also requested that this be a service-oriented goal — something outside themselves.
The first group set a goal of collecting $225 for Cross Catholic Outreach. They donated some of their own babysitting money, went around the neighborhood with their iPads opened to the Cross Catholic Outreach website to show what they were collecting the money for, and asked parents, grandparents and classmates for donations. They managed to collect more than $300, and with that they purchased medicine, baby food, school supplies, a goat, food for a household for a month and toys for children for Christmas!
The other two groups decided to do a shoe drive. Both groups decided to go around neighborhoods, put up flyers and make requests at school to collect new or used shoes to be donated to a charity, Soles4Souls. One group set a goal of 35 pairs of shoes, the other group set a goal of 100 pairs of shoes. Through this drive, the students have collected 378 pairs of shoes!
This group of eighth graders set the goal high, far surpassed it, and really let the Light of Christ shine through them. Way to go, eighth grade!
Nate Binsfeld, middle school teacher
The seventh-grade class at St. Francis Catholic School made a volunteer stop at Cathy Olson’s house in Baxter on Thursday, Nov. 3. The St. Francis CCW collects donated goods every year that are shipped by truck to the Appalachian Mountain region of the United States. This is an impoverished part of the country that needs help. Each year the seventh-grade class loads the donated goods from the Olson’s packed garage onto a semi-truck trailer.
Deb Euteneuer is principal of St. Francis of the Lakes School in Brainerd.