By Maria P. Lentz
There is much more to Catholic schools religion classes, crosses, tests, report cards and homework. Just as important as all of those things is the idea of a safe and caring school — a strong Catholic learning environment where students are able to feel comfortable and welcome; a safe and caring environment that is crucial for student’s success.
STAR Catholic is proud that its students are well cared for. While all the schools in the division are unique, they share a sense of belonging to a Catholic community that makes students feel comfortable and welcome — this is invaluable to a student’s success. A nurturing environment for students has proven to help in more than just academics. It helps build respect, responsibility, self-esteem and all the other traits that will make our students great citizens when they leave our schools for the real world.
St. Augustine School has developed the Good Samaritan fund to bless those families need right here in our own school community. Funded entirely through donations, the Fund provides opportunities to families and students who may not otherwise have the means to participate or meet their needs. Support ranges from providing school lunches, clothing donations and food vouchers for families to sponsorship of youth centre activities, summer camp, school skiing and other extra-curricular activities. That’s just one example of how we help build that sense of community in our schools.
Students at St. Augustine give of themselves to help others throughout the year, both within the school in programs and through mission work. Students build strong relationships with other students, younger and older, with the in-school mentoring which pairs high school students with younger students. These bonds are very important to having a safe and caring school.
The school truly cares about its students and that is exemplified with the Rainbows program, which provides support to students who are suffering a loss within their family.
The caring nature of the St. Augustine School community also extends outside of the school. Students, both individually and with their classmates, have organized money raising ventures for Kids With Cancer, Stollery Children’s Hospital and A Better World. In addition to school-based projects, our staff members annually volunteer at the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen in Red Deer and participate in the Rainbows program. Throughout the year, the school also routinely collects items for the food bank, gifts for Santa’s Anonymous, Samaritan’s Purse shoebox donations, Share Lent and clothing drives.
Those are just a few ways we are helping students succeed by offering them a school that is truly safe and caring.
Maria P. Lentz is the trustee representing Ponoka with the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic school division as well as the board chair. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.