- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A week of activities, service projects and open houses put Catholic schools in the spotlight as they celebrated Catholic Schools Week.
Dozens of events were planned for the annual celebration that highlights the contributions of Catholic schools through Masses, open houses and activities for students, families, parishioners and the community.
St. Mary’s Bryantown, Archbishop Neale and St. Peter’s schools packed their calendars with activities and service projects during the week.
To show appreciation for its students, ANS in La Plata planned a day of activities for students Friday. Younger students stayed at school to play games, have their faces painted and watch movies, while older students were treated to a trip to the Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf.
By the end of the day, Principal Peggy Howard said, students seemed exhausted. “When they left here, they felt very appreciated,” she said.
Each day last week, Howard said, the school planned something different. The days were dedicated to showing appreciation for a different group of people, such as students, teachers, priests and community members.
St. Mary’s School in Bryantown followed a similar pattern of showing appreciation to different people on different days, as did St. Peter’s in Waldorf.
St. Mary’s kindergarten teacher Dorothy DiGiovonnantonio said she and others could feel the community and school spirit during the week. She said there were a lot of opportunities, such as on student appreciation day Wednesday, where students and faculty were bonding over activities like singing and dancing.
DiGiovonnantonio said one teacher said Catholic Schools Week was her favorite week so far this school year.
As its service project, St. Mary’s put together 330 meal bags with prayer cards for local homeless shelters.
St. Peter’s held a food and clothing drive to support food pantries, shelters and Sew Much Comfort.
Aside from contributions in Catholic education, the three schools had another reason to celebrate the week: enrollment is up at each school.
Howard said ANS has 385 students, up 30 from last year.
People are interested in the environment of a Catholic school, she said.
Howard said she is grateful that enrollment is up and the school continues to get interested families coming to visit.
Last year, St. Mary’s had 230 students, and this year, enrollment is up by four with 234 and “more on the way,” school administrators said.
“If we can get [families] in here to visit, they will usually enroll,” DiGiovonnantonio said.
She said visitors are welcome.
St. Peter’s enrollment is up 15, bringing enrollment to 271 this year.