Academiagic: Academic Magic
Aug 5th, 2011
A Letter from St. Gabriel the Archangel School Parents
In May, we celebrated the graduation of our son Joseph from St. Gabriel School. He is our first to graduate and this inspired an overdue” thank you” not only to his school but also to the diocesan school system.
These are trying times for our Diocese. Clearly, change is needed. But we do many things VERY well, and we need to celebrate them. Education is one. We lose sight of the fact that the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students every day at an annual cost of about $10 billion but a savings to taxpayers of $18 billion. On average, Catholic schools spend 30% less to educate students compared to public education. Did you know that we graduate 98% of our students?
Father Justin Hoye, a former associate pastor at St. Gabriel and current pastor at St. Patrick, once said that Catholic education illustrates a fact often ignored in today’s world: “education is not the same as formation!”
Many receive what the world would deem a “good” education, and yet are impoverished in terms of their human formation. Catholic schools focus on the foundations of formation. Society needs individuals who aren’t simply well educated, but who are also well informed.
Catholic schools put the emphasis on human formation – with one’s eyes on Christ. Our schools mold young hearts and minds to become just, courageous and prudent. For the future of our church and our communities, they will produce GREAT fruit.
St. Gabriel is a very small school, one of the smallest in the diocese. Yet year after year, it produces quality graduates that produce this great fruit. Joseph was taught critical thinking, good decision making and leadership in a wonderful, faith filled environment.
The end result for him and his peers? They test from one to five years ABOVE grade level on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). Certainly, there are things that need to improve in parochial education but it’s hard to find fault with that kind of success.
There is some sort of academic magic going on. Shall I call it Academiagic?
My wife and I know that our son received an unmatched education and is well prepared for the challenges of high school. We sincerely believe he is on his way to becoming the faith-filled adult that our society so desperately needs.
So, here’s a big THANK YOU to the staff of St. Gabriel School.
Thank you for loving our children.
Thank you for working for less pay and with even fewer resources.
Thank you for having -- and enforcing -- a dress code.
Thank you for not being afraid to live and share your faith.
Thank you for wiping their noses, loaning them sweaters, tending to their bumps and scrapes and listening to their stories.
Thank you for working with thankless, uninvolved parents. They may be few, but
they’re still out there.
And finally, thank you for offering an education that challenges the mind while feeding the soul. The motto for our Catholic schools is “Teachings for Life.” All we can say is AMEN!
Dr. Gina Lawson and Casey Ramsey,
parents of Joseph and Caroline