For my entire life, I have been involved in Catholic education. My parents spent most of their careers in Catholic education as teachers or staff members and provided my siblings and me with the opportunity to attend Catholic elementary and secondary schools. Later I followed this up with four years of undergraduate formation at a Catholic college. When I was younger, I didn’t have a full appreciation for my Catholic education because, for me, it was just a regular part of my life. I didn’t know anything different.
After graduating from college, I started my teaching career in a public school. I enjoyed working with the students, parents and colleagues, but for me, something was missing. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was at the time. I got married and my wife, Sarah, and I had two children. When it came time to decide where our children would attend school, Sarah and I knew that we wanted them to have a Catholic education, but we weren’t exactly sure why. Both Sarah and I had attended Catholic schools for a portion of our K-12 education and valued our experiences. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Over the years I became more involved in Catholic education as a school board member, and for the last year and a half, I’ve had the privilege to serve as principal at Beckman Catholic High School. With each of those life events, the thing that was missing became clear: Catholic education is a great gift that impacts others for a lifetime.
As a parent, I’ve been asked many times why Sarah and I chose to send our children to Catholic schools, especially a Catholic high school. It has meant that we’ve had to make some sacrifices and learn to coordinate family schedules to make sure our kids get from our home in Manchester to school and that the kids are able to participate in activities. While that has definitely led to some headaches and multiple trips to and from school some days, the lessons they learn each day make it worthwhile.
What are those lessons? Students in a Catholic school have the opportunity to see that faith and reason are inseparable and naturally go together. Science is not fully science without seeing its connections to God. When we discuss current events in a social studies course we can explain how we are called by our faith to serve those in need, especially those who are marginalized in society. At a time when our society is working to further separate faith from everyday life, we work to show how life is incomplete if faith and everyday living are disconnected. Are we perfect, or do we get this right all of the time? No, we are all a work in progress, striving to be disciples in this world so we can live as saints for eternity. In Catholic education we understand our need for God’s grace, practicing forgiveness with one another as God forgives us.
These are the lessons we work to instill into our students daily. As a parent, I am so grateful that we have the opportunity for pre-K-12 Catholic education where faith and academics intersect throughout the day. As a principal, I am proud to be able to work with our staff and students daily to help us all on our journey together as we grow in knowledge and faith.