Being thankful for a Catholic education
I have been a resident of the Glenwood Springs area for the past six years and am a product of Catholic school education from kindergarten through college, graduating magna cum laude from Regis University in May 1995.
I am thankful every day for my Catholic education because it helped shape the person that I have become. I feel that I am an intelligent, well-spoken adult who has become a capable educator. Due to my choice in living, there is not a Catholic high school for me to teach at, so I very happily teach at Glenwood Springs High School. I feel that I, along with the other members of the faculty, make a valuable contribution in the lives of the young adults of Glenwood Springs.
I am writing in response to the Letter to the Editor by Fr. Bill Smith. I was proud to be a product of Catholic education as I read his letter and proud of his courage and stance as a member of the Catholic Church. Having gone through the Catholic school system in the 1980s and 1990s, I did not have the benefit of the example of many nuns, as their number has dwindled since the 1950s. It does not seem to be as “cool” to give your life in service to God through education as it used to be, so many young people, men and women alike, ignore their calling to ordered life.
Some nuns I had were grumpy, as were some of the lay teachers. Some of the nuns I had were thankfully strict, but they could not hold a candle to the expectations of my mother and father. The reason my father sent me to Catholic school rather than just private school was the ability of Catholic school to expound and instill me with moral education and example. Many young people today have difficulty in maintaining and following through with commitment. What better example is there than that of women who have committed their lives in service of God through education and community service?
One regret that I have as a public school teacher is that I cannot teach morality explicitly and directly. How do I accomplish this without directly expounding moral principles? I use my own life as an example. That is truly the best that I can do. I am not perfect, and it is good for students to see that I try and work at living my life the best that I can. They see from my life that I truly care about them in the amount of time that I spend supporting them through my teaching and supporting them in their endeavors.
My high school had inherent expectations that every student should follow high school with higher education. The study habits along with high expectations helped lay the foundation for when I attended Regis University and succeeded in the college arena.
Do public school students achieve the same success I did? Sure! I believe many of them do just that with the help of their parents and their own personal drive.
The benefit of Catholic education is that the educators have the ability to freely teach moral responsibility and ethical living, thus enabling their staff as educators to reach all students who do not have the benefit of strong parenting or self-esteem. The number of students who need the extra motivation of a person pulling them aside and being able give them moral direction is huge.
Students have to figure this out on their own if they do not have the outside support through parents and family to establish this. And I think we all can agree that young adults do benefit from aged wisdom.
Catholic education served me well, and does so for many. If you want to blame others for what has gone wrong in your life, join the prevailing attitude of our generation. If you want to look at the choices you have made in life, take responsibility for them, and learn from them, then good for you. Whatever your decision is, realize the things in your past only have a minor part in the person you have become. You are responsible for who you are.
I am thankful for my parents’ ability to send me to Catholic school. I truly believe that it has helped shape the person I have become and prepared me to succeed in life due to the examples of commitment and hard work. And yes, Sr. Peggy and Sr. Joseph Marie at St. Monica’s Catholic School in Dallas, Texas, had a large part to do with that.
Cathy Schroeder is a teacher at Glenwood Springs High School.
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