Catholic schools pay dividends for students, families

A brigadier general acknowledges that her success is due in part to the training she got in Catholic schools. She got used to the discipline and uniforms, and finds the lessons useful as a she leads the Maryland National Guard.

A family that has ushered seven children through the halls of St. Louis School in Clarksville, as well as Catholic high schools, sets the children – some of whom are now grown – on a path for success. The mom says her offspring take learning seriously and have a passion for it. She gives them credit for taking advantage of the opportunities they have had.

A teen – a self-admitted “military brat” – takes advantage of her Catholic education and parlays that, along with a dedication to service, into a choice between two military academies. This high school senior has settled on the Naval Academy and will enter Annapolis this fall.

The National Catholic Educational Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annually sponsor Catholic Schools Week. This year, the theme, “Dividends for Life,” promotes the faith, knowledge, discipline and morals that are the heart of Catholic schools.

The people profiled in our Catholic Schools Week Special section (pages B1-B20) know well those values. They are the values that help young people grow up to be, well, that help them grow up to be the kind of adults we need more of today. We need people who understand the world around them and can think critically to devise the solutions to problems economic and social. We need people who are disciplined – disciplined enough to realize that rules are not just there to get in the way, but to help promote civilized society; problems from violent crime to road rage to better recycling can be affected by disciplined living.

We need morals. Boy, do we need morals. Watch the “reality” shows on TV or read the tabloids and you’ll see why we need more morality in reality. When the examples our children see are White House gate crashers and “Balloon Boy’s” parents faking a stunt to get a TV deal, is it any wonder our kids are confused about right and wrong?

More than ever, we need faith, and especially, we need the availability of faith in our schools. Catholic schools provide the chance to teach faith, not just during religion class, although that’s important, but also to weave faith elements throughout the school day. Faith is not separate from science curriculum or the study of history, if you’re in a Catholic school. Thank God for that.

Our Catholic schools in the archdiocese will face some challenges in the coming months, as the Blue Ribbon Committee announces its findings. Our schools will need our support more than ever to survive and thrive. That is essential, if successful schools will still be here years from now to pay dividends for the next generation.

Christopher Gunty is associate publisher/editor of The Catholic Review.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.