101 Reasons to Send Your Child to a Catholic School

The Author in High School

Billings Central Catholic High School Class of 1984

With Catholic Schools Week 2011 nearly upon us, Catholic schools all over the country are about to celebrate the gift of Catholic education. My own involvement in Catholic education has been a blessing I could never repay. From first grade through high school, from undergraduate to graduate school, I spent nineteen years as a student in Catholic schools. Currently I am in the middle of my twenty-first year as a teacher in Catholic schools. That means I have spent about 90 percent of my life in Catholic classrooms.  And I’m not sure which portion of that time–as a student or as a teacher–has taught me more.

Regardless, I’m not the only one to have benefited from the time I’ve spent within the halls of the Church’s most effective means of catechesis. As a tribute to all those whose efforts make Catholic schools possible, here is my list of 101 reasons to send a child to a Catholic school. Though there are many more reasons I could mention, the focus of this list is mostly on things that can only be found in a Catholic school. They are not in any particular order.

Why should you send your children to a Catholic school? So they can experience:

  1. Prayer each morning before the school day begins
  2. Prayer before eating lunch
  3. Prayer at the end of each school day
  4. A Christmas concert rather than a “Winter Concert”
  5. Weekly Mass with their closest friends
  6. Learning about saints and other heroes of faith
  7. Praying the rosary
  8. Participating in the Stations of the Cross
  9. Spiritual retreats
  10. Celebrating the true meaning of Christmas
  11. Reading scripture regularly
  12. Praying with the entire school when disasters or tragedies occur
  13. Celebrating All Saints Day instead of Halloween
  14. No school on Easter Monday!
  15. Learning responsibility for their own education by fund raising
  16. Learning the connection between faith and reason
  17. Being able to talk to a teacher about religion
  18. Sharing faith journeys with each other
  19. Seeing priests on a regular basis
  20. Celebrating Mary in May
  21. Halls decorated with a manger during Advent and Christmas
  22. Talking with friends about what to give up for Lent
  23. Congratulating second graders on receiving First Communion
  24. Helping Catholic Charities with service projects
  25. Hearing Jesus’ name regularly, and not as a swear word
  26. Getting pets blessed on the feast of St. Francis
  27. Getting throats blessed on the feast of St. Blase
  28. Celebrating the Immaculate Conception
  29. Seeing teachers at Sunday Mass
  30. Connecting service with Catholic social teaching
  31. Hearing a consistent pro-life message
  32. Easy shopping for school clothes
  33. Being able to discuss the religious symbolism in works like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings
  34. St. Nicholas parties
  35. Epiphany parties
  36. Seeing the same friends at church that they see at school
  37. Learning about liturgical colors and seasons
  38. Discipline based on gospel values
  39. Crucifixes on the walls
  40. Statues of Mary
  41. Religious-themed bulletin boards
  42. Nearness to the Blessed Sacrament
  43. The chance to lector at school Masses
  44. The chance to serve at the altar at school Masses
  45. Making rosaries during Art
  46. Learning that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit
  47. Hearing “Make room for Jesus!” at school dances
  48. Seeing teachers wear religious-themed jewelry or clothing to school
  49. Hearing a teacher witness to his or her faith
  50. Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at Easter
  51. Religious art on the walls
  52. A curriculum designed to help students grow in spirituality
  53. Learning about sacred music in Choir class
  54. The freedom to talk about any religion, rather than no religion
  55. An atmosphere that cares more about students getting in to heaven than into Harvard
  56. Spending seven hours a day in a faith community
  57. Learning about all vocation options including marriage, ordained and religious life
  58. Getting to listen to the Pope talk about school
  59. Discussing the religious and ethical implications of stem cell research, abortion, euthanasia, and other life issues
  60. Dressing up as their favorite saint for All Saints Day
  61. Constant support and encouragement in their spiritual life
  62. Exposure to classic spiritual works by St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, Hildegard of Bingen, etc.
  63. Ash Wednesday Mass
  64. Daily exposure to the Bible
  65. Learning about the Catholic contribution to science through great Catholic scientists including Pasteur, Mendel, Lemaitre, Bacon, and Albertus Magnus
  66. A mission to educate the whole child: spiritually, as well as academically, morally, socially and physically.
  67. An outstanding academic program that helps students become their best selves
  68. The freedom to talk explicitly about the creator who has endowed us with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
  69. Learning about the redemptive value of suffering
  70. Teachers who explicitly model their instruction after the great teacher, Jesus Christ
  71. Celebrating St. Joseph the Worker
  72. A strong intellectual history whose tradition of academic excellence is unmatched by any other organization that has ever been
  73. The development of a Catholic world view
  74. A natural integration with all aspects of family life, rather than a compartmentalized existence
  75. Moral development based on gospel values
  76. An antidote for the surrounding culture’s materialistic, image-centric distortions of reality
  77. Discovering what it means to live a “Christ-centered” way of life
  78. Learning the meaning of life in its fullness
  79. Coming to understand that at the heart of every subject is Jesus, “the way, the truth and the life”
  80. Learning to recognize the voice of God in all creation
  81. Learning to be a living witness to God’s love
  82. Being constantly reminded that God loves them
  83. Parent Nights that begin with prayer
  84. Hearing prayers at 8th grade graduation
  85. Mass to begin the year
  86. Mass to end the year
  87. Field trips to convents and seminaries
  88. Learning about the connection between faith and service to the poor and underprivileged
  89. Field trips to nursing homes to sing Christmas carols
  90. Classrooms visits by priests, deacons and women religious
  91. Learning different ways to pray
  92. Awards assemblies that begin with prayer
  93. Sports leagues that begin each game with prayer
  94. Student council meetings that begin with prayer
  95. Becoming comfortable talking about God and faith with peers
  96. Spending more hours a day in a room with a crucifix than in a room with a television
  97. Learning the history of the Catholic Church
  98. Acquiring the skills to spread the good news to all corners of the world
  99. Opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration
  100. Learning about the only thing that really matters: a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, lived out in a community of faith guided by the Holy Spirit, in order to more deeply and devoutly follow will of the Father
  101. Catholic Schools Week!

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger, founder and editor of Catholic School Chronicle, is an award-winning Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He is a deacon for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane.

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10 Responses

  1. Meghann says:

    Love these! I’ll add #102 – one of my favorite regular occurrences from the first school where I taught. Along with the whole class, making the sign of the cross when an ambulance or fire truck’s sirens are heard on the street outside.

  2. Nick Senger says:

    Thanks, Meghann! I love it!

  3. Tricia Fox says:

    In elementary school we’d stop whenever we heard a siren from ambulance, police car, fire engine and recite “Jesus Mercy Mary Help” 10 times. I still do this at 41 yrs old when I hear a siren as well as anytime I need some calmness, help or peace etc. It ALWAYS works! I am blessed to be able to send my 3 children to Catholic School and love being able to volunteer during the day at school and getting to know all the children! It’s like one big family! Thanks for this article! I am forwarding it to some of our school families!

  4. ML says:

    I moved my children to a magnet school for academic purposes. Almost all of the above my children experience or have experienced at home. I think all of this depends on the parenting and the spiritual education at home. My children practice Christian like behavior in this public school, modeling this behavior for other children. I believe it is best for parents to do what is best for each individual child, then supplement the spiritual experiences in creative ways. Love your posts.
    Mary Louise

  5. Awesome list Nick! And all very true!

  6. Catherine L says:

    Thanks so much for that beautiful list! For those who have access to Catholic schools with strongly Catholic identities and orthodox religious educators, clerics, and Religious, I completely agree with you! For those living near Catholic schools lacking strongly orthodox identities, please guard your kids’ souls very carefully when choosing where/how to educate and catechize them. Do your research and watch the curriculum closely.

  7. Heather says:

    Awesome list! Inspiring and a good affirmation as we head back to the classrooms for another year!

  8. Marc says:

    Awesome list. I am a public high school teacher and I send my two boys to a Catholic school. The only problem with it is I think a lot of the people there do not realize how wonderful the school and the community are since they don’t see the other side of the coin. Thank God for the ability to sacrifice to send my kids to a Christ centered school. BTW my favorites on the list are 95 and 100.

  9. mari says:

    Personally, I am the product of public school education. I can remember as a child in grammar school having catholic school friends and being jealous at how at home/comfortable they felt being in church. It was a second home to them. As an adult, I send my children to our parish school. I cannot believe the difference I see in them. I see them growing up in a parish community, not just our house. 95% of their daily life is christ centered with people who share their beliefs. The other %5 is when they are playing community sports. It is definitely a sacrifice to afford the education but priceless to feel the comfort of christ in all that surrounds you!

  10. Joe C says:

    Great list! Linking to it in my blog!

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