Elizabeth Samples is Senior Counsel at Husch Blackwell and a member of the Catholic Education Foundation Board of Directors.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
“When does school start?” “When do I get to see my classroom?” “When do I get to meet my new teacher?”
After just one year at his school, my son is so enamored with it that he has been peppering us with questions about the start of his first grade year. I know that he is mostly thinking of his new friends, his times in specials – P.E., Art, Library – and his caring teacher. But, I can’t help but think that even at his young age he also has the ability to appreciate the intangibles that make his school, and the other Catholic schools in our Archdiocese, so special. That even if he is not fully aware of the reason, he feels supported and happy in an school environment where the central tenant is to live as Jesus taught us.
I have always been grateful for my own Catholic education and the foundational faith and commitment to social justice that it fostered. But now, as a parent, I am experiencing the gifts and joys of a Catholic education in a whole new way. This is one of the main reasons that I have committed myself to the mission of the Catholic Education Foundation. With each milestone that my son experiences in his Catholic education, I am grateful that he is able to attend a Catholic school, and I am reminded of CEF’s great mission to provide support to those who need assistance to be able to send their children to a Catholic school.
Last year, CEF provided $2,288,047 in scholarship funds to 1,612 students at 24 schools in the Archdiocese. I think of this mission and the great work of CEF in the mundane (a quick wave from my son as he hops out of car to head through the school doors) and the sacramental (attending our friends’ daughter’s First Communion). As I see the older children in the school accompanying my son at weekly Mass, I think of how quickly the years will pass, and I am grateful they will be in the loving, faith-filled, scholastic community of which we are blessed to be a part. My thoughts quickly turn to my hope that all who want this same experience for their children can realize it.
As you also begin this new school year and reflect on your own connection to our Catholic schools – whether as a teacher, a parent, an alumnus, a parish community member - I invite you to consider the great gift our schools provide and consider paying that forward by supporting CEF and its mission.
And, the answer to my son? “Soon, buddy. School starts very soon!”