Providing a well-rounded education in a Catholic School: Balancing Academic and Spiritual Success
One of the primary missions of public schools as defined by Alberta Education is to prepare our next generation ‘to be contributing members of society’. So what does that mean to a Catholic school community and just how do we go about supporting this mission? Looking through the lenses of a Catholic philosophy, a contributing member of society is not only someone who can look after themselves, but someone willing and able to support others and build community. This being said two primary missions of our school are providing a solid academic and well-rounded program where students can discover their talents and provide opportunities for students to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as a servant leader.
Modeling the Way
Time and time again I am impressed with the willingness of our community to model to our youth what it means to have the heart and hands of a servant. All adults in our community (teachers, support staff, parents) strive to model a way of life congruent with the teachings of Jesus and in doing so provide the necessary role modeling needed to pass these values on to the next generation. As such, modeling a life of service toward others is critical component of our Catholic school culture. Service to others is not an add-on to our school curriculum for us. Rather, it is embedded into our core and permeates our actions throughout the community. Like the need to respect the dignity of each individual as a person created in the image and likeness of God, serving those in their times of need is just what we do and what we want our children to learn to do. I thank you for passing this culture on to our youth through your modeling. Christ was a servant leader – teaching our children to serve as He did is teaching them to walk in the footsteps of the Lord.
‘Asking why I incorporate community service into my teaching is a little like asking why I incorporate breathing into living’ – Bob Hansman
Set them up for Success
Equally important to preparing our youth for life as active and engaged servant leaders within our communities is the need to help them discover their own unique gifts and talents in preparation for employment where they can contribute once again to our society. While we recognize that all individuals no matter their ‘job’ in life are contributing members of the Body of Christ, finding one’s calling in life is important work that the school supports. St. Augustine school has consistently delivered strong academic achievement at all grade levels. A true test of academic performance would be the number of graduates pursuing post-secondary education in a wide variety of fields and institutions. In no particular order, here are where some of our grads are and what they are studying:
- Ambrose University: Bachelor of Arts/Behavioral Science
- Canadian Armed Forces, Navy: Engineering
- Grant MacEwan University: Psychiatric Nursing
- University of Alberta: Biological Sciences, Commerce, Medicine, Bachelor of Nursing
- University of Calgary: Natural Sciences
- University of Lethbridge: Bachelor of Management
- NAIT: Chemical Engineering
- Prairie Bible College: Youth Ministry
- Red Deer College: Bachelor of Education (2), Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Social Work (2), Certificate of Management, Kinesiology (Physiotherapy), RAP (Welding)
- Saint Francis Xavier University: Political Science
- SAIT: Engineering Technology
- Vancouver Film School: Theatre Studies
- Lacombe Ambulance Srvice: Emergency Medical Technician
- Golf Course Management
- Massage Therapy
As you can see, our students have every opportunity to become whoever they wish to be. I thank you for letting us work with your children in providing a truly well-rounded education both academically and spiritually – planting these seeds and tilling this soil now will allow our society to reap a bountiful harvest in the future.