Catholic School education matters and the people that work with children matter even more – Catholic Teachers are the backbone of great education in Ontario. Early on in my relationship with my husband, I made it clear that having children, bring them up as Catholics and sending them to a Catholic school was very important to me. Having been educated in an English Catholic school system, I understand how important it is to maintain accessibility to a faith-based education. It is a tradition that I support and I have encouraged others to consider it even if they are not Catholic. Why? Because I believe that my children have received great instruction including access to religion classes (that also teach students about world religions and philosophy) with the support and guidance of Catholic teachers. Having students from different faiths in their school has opened up a window to other world cultures, history and languages. With the guidance of Catholic teachers, my children have made life-defining choices.
There are many reasons why I appreciate a Catholic school education but the main reason is that it has re-enforced the values that we as a family hold dear: charity, benevolence, social justice and social good. When our eldest began high school, she looked for a club that would help her integrate into a brand new school and school board. Being new to this school, she had no friends to hang out with at the beginning of high school. Getting involved with sports teams or clubs is a great way to integrate into any school so we encouraged her to join a team or a club. She did both by joining the swim team and social justice club. All of these options were possible because of teacher volunteers.
Social Justice was one of the clubs which appealed to her right from the start. She was drawn to a club where the students were encouraged to work on projects to create a greater social good and augment social awareness with action-driven campaigns. Be it WE Scare Hunger (collecting food bank donations at Halloween), candy grams as a fundraiser for water wells or volunteering for WeDay. WeDay is a one day event where students must ‘earn’ their way to attend a concert with celebrity singers/bands, motivational speakers, athletes etc. all coming together to encourage students to volunteer and make a difference in the world.
Participation in the Social Justice Club led to a decision
for an individual Mission trip to Ecuador
All of my children have attended a WeDay event. Not all the students that attend are from Catholic schools but all of the elementary and high schools were there because of dedicated teachers. They volunteered their time with these students and it’s clear that they are more than science, math and English teachers. They are proponents of living the values of faith, benevolence, and charity and by token have become role models to thousands of students. They also made the club fun, educational and helped the students earn their place in the Toronto event. The impact that her teachers made persuaded her to go on an individual mission trip to Ecuador with Me to We in the summer before grade 12. That mission trip helped my daughter make the life-changing decision to study International Development and Globalization at University of Ottawa. She would not have been able to do it without the help of her Catholic Teachers.
My daughter with students in the Dominican Republic Mission Trip led by three
English Teacher from the Catholic School Board
This year, my second daughter was also inspired to go on a Mission trip to the Dominican Republic with 40 other students in grades 11 and 12 with three English teachers. Along with her peers they held banquets, silent auctions, pizza-nights, volunteered and fundraised so that they could pay for their mission trip and be able to help teach English to elementary school children. She was also an athlete at school and was coached by her teachers in both soccer and volleyball. Those experiences and those Catholic school teachers/coaches encouraged her to consider teaching as a profession. With that experience, she decided to pursue an education degree at Brock University this fall. THAT is the kind of impact you want your school and their teachers to have on your child.
It is the dedication of these teachers and the values that they have learned with a Catholic School education that let my teens blossom into responsible, caring, empathetic and outstanding young adults. I know that their involvement is both the Social Justice Club and Missions trips have taught my children lessons (and provided memories) that they will carry throughout their lives. I know that Ontario English Catholic schools and more importantly the teachers, have profoundly affected my family in the best way possible and for that I am grateful.
This post is part of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers #catholicteachers sponsored program. I received compensation as thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.