LEI Schools Celebrate Catholic Schools Week
This week, Catholic school communities across the country have been celebrating the beautiful gift of Catholic education. While most schools use this opportunity to host various events, special liturgies, and fun activities for students and families, we were particularly interested in how some of the schools that are members of the Latino Enrollment Institute have been celebrating.
Here is what some of our school leaders had to say about the festivities taking place at their schools this week:
School of Our Lady | Santa Ana, California
Adela Solis, Principal
With our school being almost 100 percent Latino, there are two activities that we do every year that our parents really enjoy. The first one is that all the teachers and I serve our parents coffee and donuts/pan dulce as they are dropping off their children. Half of us set up a table by the drop-off line (for those who do not get out of their cars) and the other half are outside the school building (for those parents who wait in line with their children). The coffee is donated from Starbucks. I write a letter to the manager and ask for donations of their Coffee Travelers so all we purchase are the donuts. As we offer them coffee and donuts we tell them it is our way of thanking them for all they do and for sending them to our school.
The other activity we do is we have a family picnic. On this day, we do not serve hot lunch and parents are allowed to bring in their own food. We tell them to bring their beach chairs, picnic baskets, blankets, etc. and come have a picnic with their children and other families. We have a great turnout with parents actually bringing picnic baskets. Parents also invite students who do not have a family member there to come and sit with them. We also tell parents that they may bring grandparents, siblings, etc. After lunch we then have a basketball game between our school team and the parents, and there is also a dance routine for the parents to enjoy. So it’s quite a fun-filled day!
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School | Port Arthur, Texas
Haidee Todora, Principal
We have a grandparent day where we bring in grandparents to work on a project with their grandchild at school in the classroom. Because we have such a diverse community, we don't limit this to Latino families, but our Latino families definitely partake in this tradition, as grandparents are so revered in their community. This project could be designed specifically for an event/announcement/history/marketing idea, etc. for recruitment of Latino families. Including grandparents helps educate students on lost history and heritage/culture.
Saint Anne School | Santa Ana, California
Sr. Teresa Lynch, CSJ, Principal
My madrinas speak at the Spanish Masses and give tours after the Masses on Sunday of Catholic Schools Week. Our choir sings and we hold a Science and Art Fair. We also have the regular Open House that most schools have. Student Council and Madrinas actually give the tour to prospective parents and at the end we give them a coffee mug with the school logo and name on it. We have been posting a photo of a student and their reflection on why Saint Anne School is special each week on our newsletter.
St. Theresa Catholic School | Little Rock, Arkansas
Kristy Dunn, Principal
For Catholic Schools Week, we are designating one Mass on January 29th as "Family Mass," where school families will cover music, lectors, ushers, ministers, etc. After Mass, we will open our school and serve a light lunch with the help of our PTO. I'm calling it "My School is Your School/Mi Escuela es Su Escuela”! It's a social time for existing families and an open-house for those interested in checking out our school.
St. Mary Magdalen | Everett, Washington
Kristin Moore, Development Director
We are having our Latino parent group be present during our open house at the sign-in table and as tour guides. They have been spreading the word these past few weeks within our local community to really bring in some new families. Many of our Latino moms also prepare food for the open house. That way there are some familiar food items for families to snack on when they attend. We distributed flyers in Spanish around town (created by the moms) and will have some of them speaking at Mass as well. We also just finished an admission training for our Latino group giving them details on the admission/tuition assistance process in order for them to speak about it comfortably in the community.
St. Mark Catholic School | Peoria, Illinois
Noreen Dillon, Principal
We do an open house combined with an event we call, Taste of St. Mark's. We have a couple local business (who have children in our school) and a few of our Hispanic families from our Cathedral parish prepare and share food. This year a couple of our Filipino families are joining in on the fun. Nothing too extravagant, but it was a big hit last year!