Written by: Eric Prister
"Here at Mount Saint Mary's, we aren't just students at a school. We're people in a community."
Throughout the bus tour, from east to west, from north to south, we've seen strong communities that rally around their schools and their children, but nowhere was that more evident than in Oklahoma when the bus made its stops in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
As the student body president at Mouth Saint Mary's High School said in her speech during the stop at Sacred Heart School, the Tulsa and Oklahoma City communities have rallied around their Catholic schools, despite the sometimes difficult challenges that face faith-based schools.
Tulsa and Oklahoma City prove that community in Catholic schools is more than just the community of the family. It is more than just the community in one classroom, or the community of one particular school. The success of Catholic schools depends on the community at large, in the city, the diocese, and in the Church as a whole—a success that was put on display in Oklahoma.
At our event at Sts. Peter and Paul School in Tulsa, students from more than ten Catholic schools from the diocese were in attendance, including students from St. John the Evangelist school more than an hour away. Students from all across the diocese participated in the event, singing, speaking, and praying together with their fellow Tulsa peers. They came together as one, offering the ACE team a look at the great things being done across the city, not just at one school.
In Oklahoma City at Sacred Heart, students of all ages addressed the congregation during mass, emphasizing over and over again that the strength of Catholic schools, and the strength of the Oklahoma City community in general, is that all are made to feel welcome and included.
As has been said before, today's educational climate can be a difficult one for Catholic schools. By itself, a school can experience difficulties when it tries to fend for itself, alone and independent. Apart of a community, however, schools can thrive together, pushing each other toward success, both academically and spiritually.
In Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the Catholic school communities as a whole are embracing this mission, striving together every day to provide a quality education for all of their children. The schools there, like many others across the country, are a beautiful witness to the power and joy that come from a strong Catholic school community.