St. John of the Cross school goes beyond academics
Cullen Younker of Burr Ridge has his bear, Greg Olson, knock the hat off of Esteban, the frog of Annemarie Peterson of Western Springs. St. John of the Cross sixth-graders made puppets and wrote scripts for their animal characters. | Jon Langham~for Sun
Updated: February 25, 2013 11:10AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — The last week of January is no ordinary week at St. John of the Cross.
Jan. 27-Feb. 2 is Catholic Schools Week, as determined by the National Catholic Educational Association, and it’s a busy one at St. John of the Cross, as well as at Catholic schools across the country.
“It’s about stressing the importance of Catholic education,” said Jennifer Miller, director of education at the kindergarten through eighth-grade school, which draws 650 students from Western Springs, Burr Ridge, Hinsdale, Westchester, Indian Head Park, La Grange and surrounding communities.
Miller said the school has a jam-packed week of activities planned to allow students, teachers, families and the entire community to celebrate Catholic education. Those events start Sunday, when students from the school will speak at Sunday Masses.
A Catholic education isn’t just about academics. It also involves a commitment to service and faith development, as well as academic excellence, Miller said.
Students will practice community service by collecting and donating jeans throughout the week for Jeans for Teens, a nationwide initiative of the Aeropostale stores.
“There are over 1.7 million homeless teens,” Miller said, and the most requested item from those teens is jeans.
Students, teachers, family and friends are asked to drop off their used jeans at the school, 51st Street and Wolf Road, throughout Catholic Schools Week.
The week also includes a science fair, a student-written puppet show, and a lunch for teachers, staff and volunteers.
Thursday is a time for the community to learn more about Catholic education by visiting the school. Open house hours are from 9:15-11:15 a.m. and 1:30-3 p.m.
“We encourage our parents to come,” Miller said, as well as those who are considering a Catholic education for their own children.
Friday is Spirit Day, featuring a volleyball game between teams of teachers and other fun activities to round out the week.
This year’s theme is Catholic Schools Raise the Standards, in coordination with the National Catholic Educational Association’s new initiative, the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools. The newly adopted standards will help to ensure consistency of education throughout the country’s 6,841 Catholic elementary and high schools.