(Editor’s note: One of our staff reporters, Jenn M., spoke on behalf of Catholic Schools and StJP at Immaculate Conception’s 5 pm Mass on Saturday, January 28th. Below is her speech.)
Good Evening. My name is Jenn, and I am an 8th grader at Saint Joseph the Protector School. I have enjoyed Catholic education for the past 9 years, and my years in Catholic school have truly been a blessing.
The Catholic education I have received has helped me strive for excellence in my classes and in my extracurricular activities. For instance, I have been challenged in my Honor’s math course by learning a 9th grade algebra course. In my ELA class, I have been assigned to read some classic novels, such as Lord of the Flies, The Hobbit, and The Screwtape Letters. For the past four years, the education I have received at StJP has helped me to achieve academic excellence. I also was given the opportunity to become a member of the National Junior Honor Society, a society based on service, good academic standings, and a well rounded character. I have been stimulated by extracurriculars such as the band, jazz band, chorus, Reading Olympics, and the school musical. Through these programs, I meet other students in my school in different grades and get to learn about subject matters that children in some schools may never get to experience. I learned how to play clarinet and tenor saxophone for band. Through the band program, I have also had the chance to audition for the Archdiocesan Honor Band, which I am proud to say I received first chair. St. Joseph the Protector always sends the most students, and this year is no exception! While participating in this activity, I had the chance to meet students from all different schools in the archdiocese who have an interest in instrumental music and like to be challenged by harder music.
Along with challenging me in academics and extracurricular activities, my Catholic education has brought me the greatest gift of all, my faith. Through my middle school years, I have learned about the Old Testament, the beginnings of our beliefs. I have also learned about the New Testament, the birth of our Savior and his saving ministry. This year, I am learning about the history of the Church, beginning with Pentecost. I will also be studying morality. I am able to practice my faith every week by going to Mass with my class. I am freely able to profess what I believe because I am at a Catholic school. Besides learning about God and my faith, Saint Joseph the Protector has also given me the chance to serve others. Through our Helping Hands program, I have had the chance to make the lives of cancer patients easier. We make cards for them and put together blessing bags filled with snacks. I have also participated in group service projects where we made casseroles for the homeless men finding refuge at St. John’s Hospice.
As you can see, my years in Catholic school have been a real blessing. I have been well-prepared in my classes, I have had so much fun in my after school activities, and I have learned about the love of Christ by serving others. Most importantly, however, I have been a part of a close-knit family during my years of Catholic education, a family who has helped me be my best self.
Thank you for listening to me this evening, and I hope you continue to support and pray for the wonderful gift of Catholic schools. We cannot do it without you!