By Johanna Collins
The National Catholic Education Association, of which Holy Name Catholic School is a proud member, offers an annual opportunity to engage the community and honor and celebrate Catholic education across the nation: National Catholic Schools Week. This year, the week is scheduled to begin on Sunday, January 31st, with the theme ‘Celebrating Your Parish.’ The 9:30 A.M. Mass at Holy Name Church that day will be celebrated with cleverly-designed, student-made class banners hanging behind the altar, and a student-led liturgy. Students will be dressed in their new Kingfisher polo shirts, with a new modern Kingfisher logo designed by parent and school advisory board member, Peter Epler, last spring.
Holy Name Parish has been a long-time supporter of the school, dating back to 1946, and the parish continues to support the school in many ways. This year, the Pastoral Council took a very active role in working to rejuvenate the Alaska Day Auction by providing administrative support and engaging the parish in rolling out a dessert table like no other! The school benefits all year from the strong support of the parish, both spiritual and financial. It is appropriate to begin the week by thanking the parish.
Another daily theme includes ‘Celebrating the Community.’ Students and their families will meet at the Ketchikan Day Shelter to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the hungry. Recently, the school collected and delivered 109 items for the day shelter through their Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive. This focus on community helps students learn the importance of service to others, a central aspect of Catholic education. Holy Name students also regularly serve at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, visit residents at the Pioneer Home and PeaceHealth Long Term Care, and in October, held a successful drive for food and other much-needed items for the Ketchikan Animal Shelter.
Catholic Schools Week would not be complete without ‘Celebrating Your Students’. This is a day planned to recognize students’ accomplishments and encouraging students to reflect on the benefits of Catholic education. Holy Name will take students roller-skating one afternoon after serving them a delightful lunch in the school cafeteria.
‘Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers’ is another important theme. Holy Name teachers are the backbone of Catholic education, while the staff works to provide support to them in their important work. Volunteerism is a critical piece of Catholic education, and Holy Name parents commit to working at least twenty volunteer hours a year, though many log hundreds of hours throughout their years at Holy Name School. During Catholic Schools Week this year, Holy Name will provide a special luncheon for teachers and staff, asking volunteers to cover lunch and recess duty for a day, while they have their only relaxing school-day lunch of the year! Various activities are planned by teachers to thank volunteers who work to make the school better each day.
There are also days of ‘Celebrating the Nation’, ‘Celebrating Vocations’ and ‘Celebrating Families’. Plans are still underway but ideas include a special flag ceremony by special guests, students dressing as their favorite saint, and a morning of serving lattes and pastries to parents, grandparents and guardians.
Holy Name Catholic School would like to thank Father Pat Travers, all the members of Holy Name Parish, Bishop Edward Burns and the Diocese of Juneau, the many parishioners of other parishes in the diocese, as well as the hundreds of people who visited our church on the cruise ship this past summer. Your prayers and financial support are vital to the continued success of the school. Please know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of students, teachers and staff, each morning as we gather for prayer in the hall of Holy Name Catholic School. May God bless all of you!