Teaching Our Children
An investment in education lasts a lifetime.
Jesus said to let the little children come to him—and they do in a special way when they attend one of our many Catholic schools. A faith-based education addresses the formation of students’ hearts and minds.
The Catholic Foundation helps Catholic schools afford talented and dedicated teachers. Schools receive vital operating and capital support, helping students receive educational opportunities that shape the whole person.
“She’s really developing into a self-confident young lady.”
Father Bert Chilson thought back to Shanice, who was a student when he was pastor at St. Thérèse Catholic Church and School in Aurora.
He asked her eighth-grade class at the time: “What do you see as important in setting an example for younger students?”
The answers came back: “Responsibility, respect, behavior, attitude, service, God, prayer”. They essentially gave him a list of core character values enshrined in all of Catholic education.
Teachers “reinforce those character traits daily in the classroom,” he said. “There’s an environment of respect in the classroom that allows for focus and learning.”
BODY, MIND AND SOUL
“We offered the component of faith and spiritual formation that is very important, along with the academics.” Bragging a little about Shanice’s eighth-grade class, Father Bert said her class tested three grade levels ahead of its peers in national tests.
That kind of academic success does not come easily. Father Bert noted that it stems from a commitment to building character. The community around St. Thérèse includes “not just Spanish-speaking students, but also some Asian and African immigrant students—so English is their second language.
St. Thérèse teaches by immersion. “The children acquire English when they come to school. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers pull their hair out for a while. It’s very hard, but those kids learn—and then they excel.”
Out of that year’s remarkable eighth-grade class, three-quarters of the students started school as second-language learners. Their progress spoke as much to adaptability of the students as it did to dedication of the teachers.
St. Thérèse receives grants from The Catholic Foundation to help with teacher salaries. Father Bert gratefully acknowledged the generosity of the Catholic community through these grants.
Like many others, Shanice’s family made sacrifices to give her a Catholic education, and is so appreciative of the generosity of our donors. Father Bert knew Shanice for almost 10 years and witnessed the school’s spiritual influence shining through her life.
She was “not necessarily the best student in class, but the Catholic school environment really helped sustain her and support her in finding her own self worth and growth.”
Shanice’s name has been changed to respect privacy.