Students refelct on Catholic education, faith, service
Catholic Globe report
One student serving in a leadership position from each diocesan high school was asked to reflect upon and answer three questions that tie into the theme of this year’s Catholic Schools Week.
Respondants include: Tyler Badding, a senior at Kuemper Catholic High School in Carroll and the son of Nick and Diane Badding from St. Lawrence Parish in Carroll. Theresa Doyle, a senior at St. Edmond High School in Fort Dodge and treasurer of the Student Body. Daniel Gelhaus, a senior at Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona. Joe Hindman, a senior at Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City. Jessica Konz, a senior at Spalding Catholic High School in Granville. Cassie Todd, a senior at St. Mary’s School in Storm Lake. Becca Vonnahme, a senior at Gehlen Catholic in Le Mars and the daughter of Al and the late Teresa Vonnahme of St. Joseph Parish-LeMars. Nick Weiler, a senior at St. Mary’s High School in Remsen.
How have Catholic schools helped to enrich your faith?
Badding: The availability of religious activities and studies within Catholic schools allows my faith to grow and mature, thus enriching my religious life. Various courses of biblical and scripture studies nurture my comprehension while allowing me to see my religion in a different light.
Doyle: Going to a Catholic school has enriched my faith because we have the privilege to pray before every class period. Not only that, but we attend Mass every week.
Gelhaus: Catholic Schools have helped me enrich my faith because we have the opportunity to learn about our faith each day. As a school, we attend mass or have small prayer services in our gym for people or tragic events. We have a chapel we can go in to and reflect or have team masses before our games.
Hindman: From daily Mass in the chapel to weekly Mass at the Cathedral and prayer before every class, Bishop Heelan offers me numerous chances to reflect on my faith. Starting the day off with an Our Father, Hail Mary, Scripture readings, and special intentions reminds me what is truly important: living a Christ-filled life. With the great friends I have found here, I know that in times of need, someone will be there and that cannot be found anywhere else.
Konz: Being in a Catholic School helped me feel more comfortable expressing my faith because I know that I am with people who share the same faith as me. Also a Catholic school lets me ask more questions and become more aware of all the things we believe in as a Church.
Todd: Attending a catholic school has given me the opportunity to express my faith. Having religion class, attending mass, and daily prayer allow me to constantly deepen my relationship with God.
Vonnahme: Going to a Catholic school has allowed me to participate in events like Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras, Then Feed Just One, and Search retreats. Mission Honduras was a life changing journey that enriched my faith greatly. Catholic schools give you the freedom to talk about God and your faith to friends and teachers in any class. If I did not attend a Catholic school, I would never have gotten the chance to grow in my faith from these experiences and talk about our faith as a class.
Weiler: Catholic schools have taught me so much in my faith. I have learned a lot through church history and today’s world issues. CLT has definitely taught me some leadership roles in my faith and I am definitely not afraid to openly speak about my faith. I have been thoroughly taught the meaning of life in the fact that all life is sacred from natural conception until natural death. I am very thankful that my parents sacrificed so much for me to go to a catholic school here at Remsen St. Mary’s
How have the strong academics in your school prepared you for the future?
Badding: While enriching my faith, Catholic schools also encourage me to work hard to achieve academic success. Catholic schools instill a sense of determination required to develop beneficial qualities vital for future endeavors.
Doyle: At St. Edmond there is a strong emphasis on academics, and with the help of our teachers, they prepare each student for our lives after our high school ends and for college. College courses are offered, which gives students an opportunity to earn college credits.
Gelhaus: Our strong academics have prepared me for the future because we are offered so many advanced classes, as well as classes at the college in town. The faculty at Bishop Garrigan has prepared us for the next steps in our lives and are more than teachers to us.
Hindman: By offering difficult college and Honor courses, Heelan has given me a boost for the coming years. My excellent teachers not only test me with their assignments and papers but also give me the capability to be prepared for life's trials. Through their efforts, I have become the student I am today, and I am ready to take on the challenges of college.
Konz: Being from a Catholic school, I know that we have a harder grading scale then public schools, but in a way I find it good because it challenges us to do better in our school work. I feel that will help us out in the future because we are use to doing extra work and trying to do over and beyond the average weight.
Todd: St. Mary's takes pride in their academics, and it has helped me prepare for my future. I am learning responsibility for my actions and how to manage my time affectively, which are both important lessons to learn before college.
Vonnahme: Catholic schools stress the importance of academics while still having a faith based education. My education at a Catholic high school has helped me become a better-rounded person and has enriched my faith, as well as my knowledge. The challenging curriculum at Gehlen Catholic has given me a strong base for my university education.
Weiler: Our academics are very strong in Christian life styles. We are taught what life will be like when we are out on our own and our guidance counselor and teachers prepare us for college. I am ready to take my next step in my life by enrolling in college at DMACC this fall.
How have Catholic schools taught you the importance of giving your time and talents to others?
Badding: Involvement in community service and volunteer opportunities provide a valuable lesson of “giving back.” God has graced each of us with our own special talents and abilities; Catholic schools teach us to embrace these qualities and share them. I am grateful for my Catholic education. The things I have learned and the experiences I have encountered have molded me into who I am today.
Doyle: Helping others is a large part of our education at St. Edmond. We have had the opportunity to participate in many service projects among them being “Kids Against Hunger”, which has taught us that giving of ourselves to others is extremely gratifying and important in our lives.
Gelhaus: Bishop Garrigan has always given us opportunities to share our time and talents to with others. For example, in Christian Leadership in Action, we do many services projects like the crop walk and canned food drives. Also, we take trips to Mary’s Place in Minneapolis to help in the soup kitchen. We can participate in Peer Helper to learn about social issues and help our fellow classmates. BGHS taught me many life lessons that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am so glad my parents sent me here.
Hindman: In my religion classes, I have read and studied how Jesus emphasized the importance of sharing the gifts God has granted us. Bishop Heelan has provided me with different clubs and activities to help me achieve this goal Jesus has set. I have helped with the Thanksgiving drive sponsored by Mission Club to provide food for those who have little, and I will take part in an Autism event next month with National Honor Society. With more activities coming up in this spring, I will have many opportunities to share my faith and time with my community.
Konz: In our school, we are offered a lot of service opportunities and participating in these really helps you realize that we are all blessed to have what we have. It also leaves a feeling of knowing that since we are blessed it is good for us to help out the less fortunate. And helping others is sort of like a chain reaction- you see how happy you can make a family by just doing one thing to help them out, and then you feel you want to keep helping after that.
Todd: Caring for others was taught to me at a young age, and because of it I have participated in many service projects with my school and in the community. School projects have included Operation Christmas Child and Santa's Secret Workshop. Community projects have been working at my school's thrift store and volunteering for CommunityEd.
Vonnahme: Being a student at a Catholic school has taught me how to give my time and talents to others in many ways. Whether it is going to Opportunities Unlimited for National Honor Society or going to the soup kitchen in the Christian Leadership Team or from packing “Then Feed Just One” food for starving kids to digging trenches on the side of a mountain in Honduras, instances like these are where a Catholic education stands out.
Weiler: At our catholic school everybody gets involved in something whether it be sports, CLT, band, going to Washington, D.C for the March For Life movement, or other activities. The main thing that our school is strong in talent wise is our Christian spirituality. We are so strong in our catholic faith and we are prepared to defend it and are prepared for any topic that comes our way.
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