DeWitt school challenges students to become saints

Lindsay Steele
Teachers and staff from St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt are surrounded by images of saints as they pose for a photo with a poster showing off this school year’s theme, “Be a Saint.”

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

DeWitt — Students at St. Joseph Catholic School are paying special attention to the saints this year and working to become more saintly in the process.
Each year, the school adopts a theme to encourage and motivate students. This year’s theme is “Be a Saint.” Saints, according to staff, are “ordinary people who have done extraordinary things.”

Past themes included “Never too young” and “Enter to learn. Go forth to serve.” In the school’s cafeteria posters from past years appear alongside this year’s poster, which includes the names of all students and staff. This year’s effort is the first in which the school has concentrated on implementing the theme all year. “This one has been so fun and it is easy to incorporate,” said religion teacher Lola Blaser.

During morning announcements, students learn about a different saint. The feast day or relevance to a current event or prayer intention inspires the selection of a saint to feature. Staff and students ask for that saint’s intercession. “I think kids are interested in learning about the saints,” said Donna Klostermann, middle school science and social studies teacher. “It’s something they can relate to; they (the saints) were real people.”

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Father Stephen Page, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, often incorporates stories about the saints in his all-school Mass homilies. “He has a great love for the saints,” observes elementary teacher Mary Bousselot.

Teachers said they look for saint-like behavior in their students and make an effort to acknowledge it. Elementary teacher Jayne Riedesel said saint-like behavior happens “when we let our Christian light shine and show God’s love to others.”

During Catholic Schools Week, students will make saint cards for themselves, which will include dates of their first sacraments of initiation, an original prayer and their choice to be the patron saint of something.

Additional plans include a “museum of saints,” in which students will study a saint and offer a presentation in costume, and a spring retreat with a saintly theme.

In April, staff members will submit ideas for the next school year’s theme. In May, staff will discuss and vote on a theme. “We will determine which one kind of clicks,” Principal Sharon Roling said.


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