I just returned from the first fund raiser of the school year for our Regional Queen of Angels Catholic School. School began a few weeks ago, and we are at it already. This first fund raiser is a "Walk-a-thon" held for the past few years on the campus of Saint Edward Church in Herminie, one of the five parishes responsible for the school. The day was beautiful and the kids filled with energy and enthusiasm. Saint Edward is in the country, and the course was set around their upper parking area with plenty of grass and trees to provide a relaxing setting.
The kids get pledges or gifts from family and friends for the laps that they complete. The day began with a prayer time in church followed by a group picture and then the laps. Teachers and parents helped with the kids, the older ones walked with the younger ones, and a number of parents and even grandparents also did the laps. They had fun.
For the past few years, there has been a friendly competition among the five pastors as to who might bring in the most money for this event. We share this challenge with our people, and encourage them to support this effort by sponsoring us. My unique perspective on this challenge is that, given by back problems and mobility issues, I ask them to sponsor me to watch the others walk. Our people are great, and to date I turned in $2,100 from about 90 donors from the parish. I have to report that I watched everyone walk and cheered them on with enthusiasm. I hope to bring in more this weekend. People are great, and so is the cause.
Last evening I attended the Open House at the school, where the administration gave a "state of the school" report, we opened a twenty-five year old "time capsule", blessed a renovated front entrance way with new ramp, visited classrooms and teachers, and had an ice cream social, thanks to the generosity of a local ice cream parlor owner and supporter of the school. The school was bustling. Queen of Angels has an enrollment this year of over 260 from PK through grade 8, the second largest elementary school in this Diocese. Our enrollment remained consistent with last years numbers. Enrollment continues to be a challenge with tuition being high and surrounding school systems that are very good. I remember the days when our grade school at Saint Joseph in Uniontown had over three hundred kids, and we were one of four grade schools in town, plus a high school. Now there is one catholic school in Uniontown. Times and circumstances change, but our commitment to Catholic School education continues.
And this past Tuesday I had the weekly school Mass for the kids. We celebrate Mass in the auditorium, and it is a little bit strange to have the altar "on stage". But I always enjoy the experience. This was a "school week" for me and a week of youthful enthusiasm.