Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

ritterCatholic Schools Week is a wonderful time to reflect on our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Charlotte.

Our schools continue to be outstanding institutions, where our students can deepen their faith, expand their knowledge base and pursue areas of personal interest via a wide variety of co-curricular activities. Concurrently with these pursuits, students learn to give of themselves by being of service to others. Collectively, students in our 19 schools give more than 50,000 hours of service each year to a wide variety of parish and community organizations. That is certainly a very tangible way our students live the Gospel values they learn.

When looking at our students’ performance on a variety of assessment measures, it is evident they score above the national and local averages. Our three high schools continue to enjoy a 100 percent graduation rate, with 98 percent of our graduates going on to higher education. As a system, all levels of instruction, from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, can rightfully share in these outstanding statistics because every level of instruction helps develop our young people.

Kicking off CSW17 with the Our Lady of Mercy School Tradition of the Living Rosary. The school prays the rosary together lifting our intentions to God before releasing the balloon rosary as the intentions and prayers are supposed to ascend to God. (Provid
Kicking off CSW17 with the Our Lady of Mercy School Tradition of the Living Rosary. The school prays the rosary together lifting our intentions to God before releasing the balloon rosary as the intentions and prayers are supposed to ascend to God. (Provid
Students at St. Mark School opened Catholic Schools week by participating in the Jan. 29 11 a.m. Mass at the Huntersville parish. Students served as lectors, altar servers, gift presenters and singers in the choir.  (Photos provided by Amy Burger)
Students at St. Mark School opened Catholic Schools week by participating in the Jan. 29 11 a.m. Mass at the Huntersville parish. Students served as lectors, altar servers, gift presenters and singers in the choir. (Photos provided by Amy Burger)
Students at St. Mark School opened Catholic Schools week by participating in the Jan. 29 11 a.m. Mass at the Huntersville parish. Students served as lectors, altar servers, gift presenters and singers in the choir.  (Photos provided by Amy Burger)
Students at St. Mark School opened Catholic Schools week by participating in the Jan. 29 11 a.m. Mass at the Huntersville parish. Students served as lectors, altar servers, gift presenters and singers in the choir. (Photos provided by Amy Burger)
Students at St. Mark School opened Catholic Schools week by participating in the Jan. 29 11 a.m. Mass at the Huntersville parish. Students served as lectors, altar servers, gift presenters and singers in the choir.  (Photos provided by Amy Burger)
Students at St. Mark School opened Catholic Schools week by participating in the Jan. 29 11 a.m. Mass at the Huntersville parish. Students served as lectors, altar servers, gift presenters and singers in the choir. (Photos provided by Amy Burger)
St. Leo School celebrated Catholic Schools Week with a Pre-K pajama and pancake party for the middle of the week.  (Photo via Facebook)
St. Leo School celebrated Catholic Schools Week with a Pre-K pajama and pancake party for the middle of the week. (Photo via Facebook)
Holy Trinity Middle School had special visitors during Catholic Schools Week. Father Jason Barone and Father Joseph Matlak along with women religious speak to our students about vocations. (Photo via Facebook)
Holy Trinity Middle School had special visitors during Catholic Schools Week. Father Jason Barone and Father Joseph Matlak along with women religious speak to our students about vocations. (Photo via Facebook)
Holy Trinity Middle School had special visitors during Catholic Schools Week. Father Jason Barone and Father Joseph Matlak along with women religious speak to our students about vocations. (Photo via Facebook)
Holy Trinity Middle School had special visitors during Catholic Schools Week. Father Jason Barone and Father Joseph Matlak along with women religious speak to our students about vocations. (Photo via Facebook)
Dr. Janice Ritter, MACS superintendent came to speak to St. Mark School’s second graders during Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Dr. Janice Ritter, MACS superintendent came to speak to St. Mark School’s second graders during Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Christ the King High Schoolers were treated to some donuts for Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Christ the King High Schoolers were treated to some donuts for Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Students in Mrs. Boylan's fourth grade at St. Michael School were good citizens by cleaning up St. Michael’s playgrounds, yards, and gardens during Catholic School Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Students in Mrs. Boylan's fourth grade at St. Michael School were good citizens by cleaning up St. Michael’s playgrounds, yards, and gardens during Catholic School Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Celebrating Student Appreciation Day 2017 and it's all smiles from these students at Our Lady of Mercy in Winston Salem. Mad Scientist came in to entertain K-4th students this morning and 5th-8th grade students got to go bowling. (Photo via Facebook)
Celebrating Student Appreciation Day 2017 and it's all smiles from these students at Our Lady of Mercy in Winston Salem. Mad Scientist came in to entertain K-4th students this morning and 5th-8th grade students got to go bowling. (Photo via Facebook)
To kick off Catholic School's Week, Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School students served as alumni readers to their former Catholic elementary schools. Pictured are Zach Loncar and Matt Bruns at Saint Leo School in Winston Salem and Ryan Moon and David
To kick off Catholic School's Week, Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School students served as alumni readers to their former Catholic elementary schools. Pictured are Zach Loncar and Matt Bruns at Saint Leo School in Winston Salem and Ryan Moon and David
To kick off Catholic School's Week, Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School students served as alumni readers to their former Catholic elementary schools. Pictured are Zach Loncar and Matt Bruns at Saint Leo School in Winston Salem and Ryan Moon and David
To kick off Catholic School's Week, Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School students served as alumni readers to their former Catholic elementary schools. Pictured are Zach Loncar and Matt Bruns at Saint Leo School in Winston Salem and Ryan Moon and David
Did 4th grade find the buried treasure? Pirate Day at St. Matthew School for Catholic Schools Week (Photo via Facebook)
Did 4th grade find the buried treasure? Pirate Day at St. Matthew School for Catholic Schools Week (Photo via Facebook)
Charlotte Catholic High School had an all-school Mass today in honor of Catholic Schools Week (Photo via Facebook)
Charlotte Catholic High School had an all-school Mass today in honor of Catholic Schools Week (Photo via Facebook)
Charlotte Catholic High School had an all-school Mass today in honor of Catholic Schools Week (Photo via Facebook)
Charlotte Catholic High School had an all-school Mass today in honor of Catholic Schools Week (Photo via Facebook)
Charlotte Catholic High School had an all-school Mass today in honor of Catholic Schools Week (Photo via Facebook)
Charlotte Catholic High School had an all-school Mass today in honor of Catholic Schools Week (Photo via Facebook)
The student winners of St. Gabriel Prayer Card winners are fifth graders Rory Howes wrote the prayer and fifth grader Noelle Rogers drew the picture. (Photos provided by Michele Snoke)
The student winners of St. Gabriel Prayer Card winners are fifth graders Rory Howes wrote the prayer and fifth grader Noelle Rogers drew the picture. (Photos provided by Michele Snoke)
Thank you God, for the Faith we have here at St. Gabriel, the knowledge the students thrive for, and the love and need we have for service. Most of all, for showing us that we can all be Christ. Whether it be by participating in mass, learning in the clas
Thank you God, for the Faith we have here at St. Gabriel, the knowledge the students thrive for, and the love and need we have for service. Most of all, for showing us that we can all be Christ. Whether it be by participating in mass, learning in the clas
Image1St. Mark students in Huntersville kicked off Catholic Schools Week with a Mass with Bishop Peter Jugis. (Photos by Jeannie DeSena)
Image1St. Mark students in Huntersville kicked off Catholic Schools Week with a Mass with Bishop Peter Jugis. (Photos by Jeannie DeSena)
St. Mark students in Huntersville kicked off Catholic Schools Week with a Mass with Bishop Peter Jugis. (Photos by Jeannie DeSena)
St. Mark students in Huntersville kicked off Catholic Schools Week with a Mass with Bishop Peter Jugis. (Photos by Jeannie DeSena)
St. Mark students in Huntersville kicked off Catholic Schools Week with a Mass with Bishop Peter Jugis. (Photos by Jeannie DeSena)
St. Mark students in Huntersville kicked off Catholic Schools Week with a Mass with Bishop Peter Jugis. (Photos by Jeannie DeSena)
Band students at Our Lady of the Assumption School are preparing to play and cheer on students at the student vs faculty basketball game on Friday for Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Band students at Our Lady of the Assumption School are preparing to play and cheer on students at the student vs faculty basketball game on Friday for Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Band students at Our Lady of the Assumption School are preparing to play and cheer on students at the student vs faculty basketball game on Friday for Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Band students at Our Lady of the Assumption School are preparing to play and cheer on students at the student vs faculty basketball game on Friday for Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Band students at Our Lady of the Assumption School are preparing to play and cheer on students at the student vs faculty basketball game on Friday for Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
Band students at Our Lady of the Assumption School are preparing to play and cheer on students at the student vs faculty basketball game on Friday for Catholic Schools Week. (Photo via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a faculty vs. student volleyball game today in honor of Catholic Schools Week and the band played to support their fellow Jaguars (Photo via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a faculty vs. student volleyball game today in honor of Catholic Schools Week and the band played to support their fellow Jaguars (Photo via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a faculty vs. student volleyball game today in honor of Catholic Schools Week and the band played to support their fellow Jaguars (Photo via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a faculty vs. student volleyball game today in honor of Catholic Schools Week and the band played to support their fellow Jaguars (Photo via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a faculty vs. student volleyball game today in honor of Catholic Schools Week and the band played to support their fellow Jaguars (Photo via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a faculty vs. student volleyball game today in honor of Catholic Schools Week and the band played to support their fellow Jaguars (Photo via Facebook)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
Our Lady of Mercy held a diaper and wipes drive for Birthright. Birthright is a local, Pro-life organization established to help mothers to-be through their pregnancies and births. They have recently lost the support of the NC Diaper Bank, and unfortunate
Our Lady of Mercy held a diaper and wipes drive for Birthright. Birthright is a local, Pro-life organization established to help mothers to-be through their pregnancies and births. They have recently lost the support of the NC Diaper Bank, and unfortunate
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a talent show at the end of Catholic Schools Week. (Photos via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a talent show at the end of Catholic Schools Week. (Photos via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a talent show at the end of Catholic Schools Week. (Photos via Facebook)
St. Gabriel Catholic School held a talent show at the end of Catholic Schools Week. (Photos via Facebook)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
Students at St. Patrick School celebrate Catholic Schools Week. (Photos provided by Angie Noonan)
St. Michael Catholic School wrapped up Catholic Schools Week with a Grandparents’ Day event. Pic-tured are Carson Weaver and Lucy Peterson. (Photo submitted by Emma Hughlett)
St. Michael Catholic School wrapped up Catholic Schools Week with a Grandparents’ Day event. Pic-tured are Carson Weaver and Lucy Peterson. (Photo submitted by Emma Hughlett)
St. Michael Catholic School celebrates Catholic Schools Week. (Photo submitted by Emma Hughlett)
St. Michael Catholic School celebrates Catholic Schools Week. (Photo submitted by Emma Hughlett)
St. Michael Catholic School wrapped up Catholic Schools Week with a Grandparents’ Day event. Pic-tured are Charles Assencoa, Madison Comer, and Linda Assencoa. (Photo submitted by Emma Hughlett)
St. Michael Catholic School wrapped up Catholic Schools Week with a Grandparents’ Day event. Pic-tured are Charles Assencoa, Madison Comer, and Linda Assencoa. (Photo submitted by Emma Hughlett)
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These quantitative measures are helpful because they provide concrete evidence of students' success. However, the true measure of our success will not be revealed solely via test scores, but rather seen when walking the halls or grounds of our schools.

A look into any of our classrooms shows students who are ready to learn and focused on success – not only as students but also as members of the community. Our administrators and teachers work diligently to create positive learning environments, but it is the students who capitalize on these by bringing to their studies a sense of respect, a sense of purpose and a strong work ethic – qualities first learned in the home.

However, it is perhaps what our students do when motivated solely by their own sense of right that most clearly brings to life the lessons learned in our schools. Recently, a group of second-graders at one of our schools was enjoying some time outside, when, on their own, they gathered around and began to pray the rosary. Not too long ago, a group of our high school students met at a local library to study. Their behavior was so impressive that a library patron took the time to write a note of commendation to the principal. The behavior our students exhibit, when they think no one is watching, speaks volumes about who they are and reflects the true value of a Catholic education.

Catholic Schools Week is also the perfect opportunity to thank the many people who support our schools in so many ways. Among these are our clergy, members of our various school boards, PTO volunteers and community members who share their time and expertise with us.

I also would like to thank our parents, who put their faith in our schools and entrust us with their children. The financial sacrifices you make to provide your children with the gift of a Catholic education is recognized and appreciated. I thank you for your continued dedication to our schools.

Dr. Janice Ritter is superintendent of the Diocese of Charlotte schools system.