SOUTH PLAINFIELD: Holy Savior Academy epitomizes the principles that Catholic Schools Week is celebrating this year: “Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”
In January alone, students have attended Mass, chatted with scientists stationed in Antarctica, and made sandwiches for a soup kitchen.
Catholic Schools Week, which begins Sunday, is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the US. At Holy Savior Academy, faith, knowledge and service are part of students’ every day school life. The school enrolls students in pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade.
Every month, each grade leads prayer service. In October, for example, eighth-graders hosted the school’s first living rosary at Sacred Heart Church. “The purpose of the living rosary is to pray for one another,” a student explained to her peers. Even the youngest students participated; kindergartners drew pictures of their prayers and brought them to the service.
With the arrival of a new Spanish teacher, students are also learning to say their prayers in another language.
Holy Savior Academy is also a community of knowledge. Teacher Jen Durkin has been getting students excited about science with various lab experiments and projects. Fourth- and fifth-graders recently learned how to build a model of a water slide; seventh-graders learned about osmosis by submerging an egg into various types of liquids; and the middle-schoolers are learning about oceanography and penguin ecology by following the progress of scientists stationed in Antarctica.
And students throughout the school are learning their science and other lessons on Chromebooks, tablets and other devices. Technology is an integrate part of learning here.
As schools across the country are putting more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses, Catholic schools are adding religion and art to the equation (STREAM). Holy Savior Academy students are not only learning about science and math, they are also learning about God, faith and Christian values.
Those Christian values mean students are taught to think beyond themselves and consider the needs of their community. So far this year, the Holy Savior Academy family has packed lunches for a food pantry, collected personal needs items for veterans, and bought Christmas gifts for children whose families may not be able to afford them.
Catholic Schools Week is a time to recognize students’ achievements, be thankful for a faith-based school, but it’s also a time to have fun. That’s why there are activities planned through the week, ending with a volleyball match between students and faculty.
Here is the schedule of activities during Catholic Schools Week at Holy Savior Academy:
- Monday, Jan. 26: Spirit wear.
- Tuesday, Jan. 27, open house: 9-11 a.m. and 6-8 p.m.
- Wednesday, Jan. 28: Teacher appreciation day
- Thursday, Jan. 29: 8:30a.m. 8th Grade Breakfast; 10 a.m. Ring Mass at Sacred Heart Church; Book fair
- Friday Jan. 30: Book fair; student dress -down day, wear red, blue or white. 9a.m. student award ceremony, 2 p.m. volleyball match between students and faculty.
- All Week: Souper Bowl