The academic demands of Catholic education can be overwhelming beyond measure. Over the past couple of years, with the late night homework followed by the impossible task of getting my child to wake, I have asked myself if it is worth it. Each time the question has been asked has yielded the response of YES. Even this year, when the demand has increased exponetially.
Coming back to the reasons I moved my son from public to private education. The sadness from our experience with a less than supportive set of teachers and administration for my oldest when he started spiraling downwards following his father’s death reminds me of the why. I was seeking an environment which supported the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) rather than one of solely academic measurements and nothing more. The schools we have attended have certainly fit the bill. Still, it’s not been easy.
Last night, I was fortune enough to attend the biggest event of the school year. This is an all class spirit competition which calls upon creativity, teamwork, ingenuity, and athleticism in the way of a dance and skit performance by each class, a number of games and relay events of varying types, and ending with a ceremonial ROAR from each class. Each class was also assigned a color which they and their parents wore to show their class spirit. They were judged on creativity, skill, sportsmanship, class spirit, parent spirit/support, the outcome of the challenges put before them, among other things.
This was 110% competition… yet it was also a coming together of a community. The message is that each individual possesses unique gifts from God, when added together, make this community strong and wonderful. Therefore, we dance and sing, hop, skip, and jump, and celebrate together! As the scores were being tallied, all the classes banned together chanting “I believe that we will win” (first separately, then all together in unison). Finally, the entire student body (all 1,300) linked arm in arm and began swaying as the sang along to OneRepublics “I Lived.” And although only one class will be listed on the trophy, each of the classes emerged from the event feeling like winners… for indeed, they are.
Seeing my son with his peers (smiling, cheering, laughing, being a part of this community) from across the venue helps reinforce the value of this community we have become a part of. It is events such as this which validate our choice in his education as the right one. It makes the homework and sleepless nights seem not nearly as maddening as I had previously thought. For time and time again, when asked, my son has insisted that it is all well worth it for him.
The academic load is not madness. This is Madness — Monarch Madness – and we love it.