Routt Catholic High and Our Saviour Schools are celebrating Catholic Schools Week with a number of special events, including some that are aimed to give back to the community.
Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week has been an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States.
Colleen Doyle, Development Director for Routt High School, says that Catholic Schools Week gives the school a chance to celebrate, not only the school, but the community that supports Routt as well.
“It’s a nationwide celebration and is an opportunity for us to celebrate our school, our faith, our vocation, a chance for us to kind of step back and see the basis behind the school that we have here in Jacksonville. It’s a special community, a lot of people get involved as far as volunteering, showing up to different events, and it really is a great opportunity to showcase that and highlight the special place that we have here at Routt.”
The week kicked off Sunday with an opening mass, followed by a school wide open house Sunday afternoon. Doye said that the open house was well attended for both schools. Our Saviour School Principal Stephanie VanDeVelde says that the open house also serves as an informal kick off for the schools to prepare for next school year as well.
“That is starting to communicate that we are starting our early registration, with our early registration beginning February 11th. If anyone is interested in hearing more about Our Saviour School, I invite them to call us and come in for a shadow day or a tour or attend our formal open house that we are having with detailed information about Our Saviour School on February 11th at 6:00 pm.”
Doyle says that the 4th annual Service Fair was a great success again this year. The service fair helps Routt students as well as O.S.S. 7th and 8th graders connect with local organizations to fulfill their required service time.
“One cool thing about the service fair is that it is completely put together by our students. One of the requirements of being a student at Routt Catholic High School is to complete 15 hours of service every year. Four years ago, students came to us with the idea of creating a service fair to give their fellow peers to see what service opportunities there are in the community.
We encourage the students to do the 15 hours of service and they are expected to go get it, so with this we are able to bring different organizations in the Jacksonville community here on site to give students the chance to meet with representatives from those organizations and possibly sign up for any volunteer opportunities they may have.”
Doyle says about eight different organizations were represented at the service fair, including, the United Way, Jacksonville Kiwanis, Mid-West Youth Services, and Passavant Area Hospital.
Both student bodies also take time during the week for service during school time as well. Doyle says that the Crochet Club is alive and well at the school. Lap blankets made by the club will be blessed by Father Tom of Our Saviour Church tomorrow before they are donated to a local senior center.
Principal VanDeVelde says Our Saviour students will be workong on projects focused on those who served our country.
“We are doing two service projects this year, we typically do the valentines for vets and give those to the appropriate parties so that they can be distributed, but this year we are also doing care packages for active duty service members.
How we determined who we were putting together packages for, was through the parent letter I send each week, and in the parish bulletin, we asked for parishioner and school families that have family members who are actively serving. From that, names came in and that is who we are providing the care packages for.”
VanDeVelde says that the care packages follow guidelines put out for sending packages to active duty military, but that they worked with the families within the guidelines to make sure each package was unique to the individual receiving a package.
The schools will take time this week to recognize students, and faculty, as well as volunteers from the area for their dedication throughout the year.
Students will also get to take a little break from the usual school stress to take in a movie at Illinois Theater while 8th graders and seniors will get to blow off some steam with a trip to the Bowl Inn downtown.
Catholic Schools Week ends on Friday, where students will attend another special mass will be held at Our Saviour Church.