Holy Family Leading By Example
Catholic Schools Week with Faith, Excellence & Service
The Ashland Beacon
Matthew 5:16 states, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
Catholic schools around the nation are letting their light shine bright for National Catholic Schools Week 2023, which is this week, January 29 – February 4. The celebration promotes the exceptional education that Catholic schools provide. Some things schools do to observe the annual celebration are with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our Church, our communities, and our nation. This year’s theme is "Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” Academic distinction is the characteristic of Catholic education directed to the growth of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. Service is important to Catholic education because it is one of the best ways to teach the value of empathy. It also introduces students to kindness, compassion, and selflessness.
Holy Family’s Early Childhood classes are especially excited to celebrate. There are fun days planned such as wearing crazy socks and eating donuts; however, the main focus of service is key. For Catholic Schools Week, Holy Family preschool teacher Julie McCoy, took the lead in planning a service project where the early childhood classes could help make a positive impact within the community.
McCoy explained, “Hospice has a special place in my heart. I knew I wanted to do something for them if possible when choosing a community service project for Catholic Schools Week. In 2021, my now husband and I began planning our wedding. We had a beautiful venue picked and a date in the fall. However, his father’s health began to decline. We knew he wouldn’t make it to a fall wedding. We moved up the date and decided to have our wedding in June instead and in his parents’ yard. Yet again, circumstances changed. His doctor basically said it’s today, or he won’t be there. We rushed to their house, gathered the few family members we could and the minister. We got married in my husband’s parents’ living room while the ambulance was on its way to take his dad to Hospice. We said ‘I do’ and quickly changed clothes and headed to Hospice where we spent the next three days with his dad saying goodbye. The staff there was so kind and really accommodating to the needs of the patient and the family. When you have a loved one in Hospice, time is your enemy. You don’t want to leave at all. We ate a lot of the snacks in the waiting room. At a time like that, you don’t really have a big appetite but just a bite of something helps. It is also a good distraction. Being able to take a walk and get a snack without having to leave the facility was wonderful. It is a special thing that we can do to help others. After being at Hospice and faced with the situation we were in, I know how much something as small as a pack of crackers can impact someone’s day.”
Even the smallest act can make a difference in someone’s life. It’s important to let our light shine for others when they are hurting or lost in this world. “I want our early childhood students to know that even though they might be small, they can do things that will make a big difference in someone’s life,” commented McCoy.
All the students enjoyed collecting snacks and were excited to take part in the project. Their little minds absorbed the importance of giving and what it means to let their light shine. They were happy; yet, they knew they were making others happy by doing something kind for them. That’s an important concept to grasp at such a young age.
Amelia Kate Wells, age 4, from Mrs. Ward’s Montessori Preschool class exclaimed, “Giving makes me happy because I like to give to someone who doesn’t have something.”
Aeryn Andrada, age 5, from Mrs. McCoy’s Preschool Class summed it up best with her statement, “Giving makes you happy; it makes people happy. Helping people makes them feel better, and that’s kind.”
Showing kindness is part of service, which is extended at Holy Family School not only this week but throughout the school year. It’s a wonderful environment for children to excel academically and spiritually. “I feel very blessed to work in a school that gives back and does so much for our community,” shared McCoy.
This is the first year Holy Family Early Childhood classes have participated in this service project for Hospice; however, McCoy hopes that it will continue in the future. Currently, they are collecting snacks through February 3 before McCoy delivers them to Hospice.