The principals and planners at Butler County's Catholic schools are hoping for a warmer reception for this year's National Catholic Schools Week.
This year's week started Sunday and runs through Saturday with the theme of “Learn, Serve, Lead and Succeed.”
Michelle Peduto, director of Catholic schools for the Pittsburgh Diocese, said, “The beauty of Butler County Catholic schools is they are in communities spread over the county.
“They are providing access to Catholic education beyond the suburbs and into the rural areas,” she said.
Holy Sepulcher School
An open house and a pancake breakfast was held Sunday at Holy Sepulcher School, 6515 Old Route 8 North, Middlesex Township.
Kristine Marsico, the Holy Sepulcher advancement director, said the open house and breakfast gave parents a chance to see the school that houses 176 students from preschool through eighth grade.
“We'll be doing some fun things through the week,” said Marsico. “We'll be doing a 'Mad Science' assembly. We'll have a skate party, lunch with parents, Junior Achievement, a game day.”
Marsico said the school was also having a Jared Box drive led by first-grade teacher Amanda Lauer to raise toys for children undergoing chemotherapy.
Lauer said, “The Jared Box Project centers around a little terminally ill boy who would take a box of toys to doctor's appointments. He was amazed that other children didn't do the same.”
The Jared Box project was started in 2001 by the children at Our Lady of Victory School in State College to honor their classmate and friend Jared after he died.
Lauer said Holy Sepulcher School students will collect toys and books to be packed into boxes and delivered to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.
St. Kilian's Parochial School
Catholic Schools Week will focus on “The Celtic Way” for the 561 students and 98 preschoolers at St. Kilian's Parochial School, 7076 Franklin Road, Cranberry Township, according to Stacye DeJulius, the school's director of marketing.
She said the Celtic Way refers to the schools five core virtues.
DeJulius said, “Each day we will celebrate a different core value: respect, compassion, honesty, self-discipline and responsibility.”
Monday kicked off the week with an all-school Mass at St. Kilian's Church. At lunch, students will be able to participate in a “Guessing Game” and “Kilian Krafts.” The school day will end with a volleyball game pitting eighth-graders against teachers.
On Tuesday students dressed in jeans and grade-level color T-shirts for a drone photo of the student body followed by a sock hop in the gym.
Wednesday is spirit wear day ending with grade level-appropriate movies.
Thursday is “Mismatched Dress Down and Crazy Hair Day.” At lunch, students will make Valentine cards for Father Bober to take to local senior home residents. The afternoon will end with an American Heart Association assembly in the gym.
Friday students are invited to dress down in their favorite college or sport team jersey. There will be a middle school spelling bee, a tailgate lunch with the Pirate Parrot complete with a DJ and schoolwide Father Bober bingo.
North Catholic High School
Across Route 228, at North Catholic High School, the 594 students in grades 9 through 12 had a morning assembly Monday, according to North Catholic's assistant principal, John Benzing.
There will be a special 8:30 a.m. Mass Wednesday, a “Family Feud” assembly Thursday and a Friday pep rally featuring teacher head shaving and hair dyeing, all part of an effort to raise money for the Children's Home of Pittsburgh.
St. Gregory's School
Erin Harris, the principal of St. Gregory's School, 115 Pine St., Zelienople, said her school's 210 students in kindergarten through eighth grade took part in a math tournament and math game show on Monday.
Tuesday featured the annual eighth grade versus staff volleyball game.
Wednesday brings a student science fair in the gym, and Thursday is Literature Day with “book-nics” and hot chocolate while the seventh- and eighth-graders go bowling in the afternoon,
“Friday, we'll have the regular 9:15 a.m. Mass and Saints Alive where the fifth-graders will dress up as saints and tell their stories,” said Harris. “The seventh- and eighth-graders will bake cookies for Meals on Wheels.”
TOP 10 RANKING
Pennsylvania ranks among the top 10 states in Catholic school enrollment with about 404 schools serving 111,550 students.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh, with about 15,000 students in 72 schools, is one of the largest systems in the state. All the diocesan schools are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and the diocese was one of the first in the country to have all its schools accredited.