This year marks the 46th year that Catholic schools, nation-wide, set aside a week to highlight and celebrate the gift of Catholic schools. From Sunday, January 26, 2020 to Saturday, February 1,2020, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Memphis, in Tennessee will join with Catholic schools across the nation to celebrate with special Masses, assemblies, and activities for students, parents, teachers, parishioners and community members. This year’s theme is “Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed.”
The Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee was established in 1971. Since 1971 our Catholic schools have served more than 352,000 students. This year 5,210 students are enrolled in our 10 parish schools, Diocesan High schools and 3 private Catholic schools. The mission of our Catholic Church is the mission of our Catholic Schools: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always until the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19.
A Catholic Education is an act of love. It is an act of love that forms the next generation of Catholics in our faith and tradition, that manifests a parents’ (and sometimes grandparents’) sacrifice and commitment that results in leaders who serve like Christ himself. What an awesome gift to give to our children!
The new liturgical year started on December 1st, the first Sunday of Advent. During the season of Advent, we prepare for the Lord’s coming in Bethlehem. For the four weeks leading up to Christmas, our daily readings from both the Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours will be excerpts and passages from Scripture that highlight Israel’s longing for God’s arrival and foretell the birth of his Son.
However, the first Sunday of Advent’s readings always pertain to the Second Coming of Christ. The purpose is to remind us that our Lord has not come once to never return again. Therefore, when we celebrate with a spirit of anticipation for the Nativity, we should harmonize that anticipation to his coming again at the end of time. Just as the people of Israel longed for God to come and take his place as king over all the nations, so should we long (as the new Israel) for him to return and put an end to evil forever. This also means that Advent, much like Lent, is a season of spiritual renewal.
“Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at the hour you do not expect.” –Matt 24: 42-44
Our Lord reminds us that we do not know when he is coming back to judge us according to our faithfulness to him. Can we really afford to put off our striving towards holiness any longer? For the Christian man or woman, time is always of the essence. Let us approach the new liturgical year with a renewed sense of dedication to growing closer to God. We would do well to make spiritual resolutions during this timeframe in the same way we make resolutions at the beginning of the New Year.
As Roman Catholics, we have all the graces we need to begin our journey towards God. We have Masses being celebrated daily at parishes all across the city, we have outreach programs and charities that desperately need our help, and parish communities in abundance to pray with and for as we continue to spread the Gospel in our Diocese. We must keep in mind that the Kingdom is in our midst and that we have to make contact with that truth on a daily basis. As St. Josemaria Escriva once said, “Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him.”
I am thankful for WORDS because they give me a way to communicate with people. I can communicate with words through speaking, writing, and also sign language. Without words, it would be so much harder to express myself. I don’t know what I would do without words. Words help by giving me a way to tell people things and they make life so much easier. – Charlie Hudspeth
I am thankful for PERSONAL GROWTH because it opens up the world to diversity and change. Personal growth can change the worst of people to the best of them. It can change the type of music you like and who your friends and best friends are. Personal growth has helped me personally a lot in my life; it has made me into who I am today and will continue to shape me throughout my life. – Adam Hendon
I am thankful for PEACE because it keeps us safe. If there was no peace in our world, our entire world would probably be destroyed. Without peace, people would probably get in fights all the time and nothing would come easy. God fives us free-will so we can choose what we want to do. We should always listen to what God is calling us to do. This way, we will live a happy and delightful life. – Colin Prentice
I am thankful for CHANGE because, without it, life would be incredibly boring. If everything and everyone were to stay exactly the same from creation or birth, no progress could ever be made. Change keeps me hopeful for the future and excited for newer, better ideas and outlooks. It helps me to remember that no matter how bad things can get, nothing is permanent. Because of change, I am able to see improvement always as a goal, and never as an impossibility. – Evie Messinger
I am thankful for FUN because it brings a happiness into my life. I am able to enjoy things more because I do not have to worry about them. Being able to do fun things makes everyone and myself more lively and compassionate. Without fun, I would be stressed out and frustrated about everything. – Morgan Smith
I am thankful for SEASONS because without them it would be cold or hot all the time. Seasons help us by letting us be able to experience different weather. Because of seasons, we have snow. – Mason Zemaitis
I am thankful for MEMORIES. I am thankful for memories because I can remember things that have happened in the past. I can know the people before me through memories. Because of memories, I can learn more about my history and the history that was in the world. – D’Qorian Berry
I am thankful for IMAGINATION because I’m able to express my thoughts in my head without being judged. I’m also thankful because I can think about a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense in the real world. – Jason Pina
I am thankful for COLOR because color shows how unique everything is. Color lets people express themselves in many different ways. – Aiden Davis
I am thankful for SUNSHINE because it reminds me that every day is a new day. I am also thankful for sunshine because it lets me know God has given me another wonderful day to live. Finally, the sunshine is beautiful and I love watching the sunset and seeing all the wonderful colors. – Olivia Wainright
I am thankful for DIVERSITY because it lets people know that not everyone is the same. That we are all different. Diversity helps people stand out in a crowd. We are all our own person, and that is why I am thankful for diversity. – Zoe Crider
I am thankful for MUSIC because I love listening to it in the car. I also am thankful for music because it helps me remember people I love and it makes me happy. Because of music, the world has sound and joy. – Guy Simmons
I am thankful for EMOTIONS because, without them, I would not know how to react or feel at all. Emotions impact everyone and how they are today. – Carmen Mays
I am thankful for MAGIC because it gives me entertainment. Because there is magic in the world, it gives the people of the world joy and happiness to others. – Dillard Shenoskey
I am thankful for HOLIDAYS. A holiday is a certain day dedicated to spending time with your family and friends outside of work or school. I love how no holiday is ever the same! – Mary Rainer
I am thankful for FORGIVENESS because I can still feel appreciated and accepted when I make a mistake that hurts someone physically or emotionally. Forgiveness can fix broken relationships. – Gannon Herndon
I am thankful for TIME because I have enough of it to spend with my family. Time seems to lack in the present day and it is important to spend it wisely. Spending this valuable time with friends, family, and God are the best ways to spend it. – Nicky Valentino
I am thankful for LOVE. Love helps me and others get through tough times. The love of our family and friends helps me feel better. Love gives me hope for a better time in the future. – Marcy Bryant
I am thankful for HOPE because it means there are better things to come. Wherever I am, especially if I feel burnt out or unhappy, things will improve eventually because of hope. It lets me know that no matter how today was, there’s always a second chance tomorrow. Hope gives me a goal to work towards and something to be looking forward to. Hope puts me in the mindset to improve and try my hardest. – Camille Van Epps
I am thankful for JOY because it makes happiness. Nobody could be thankful without joy, and the world would be depressing. Things being joyful makes the world a better place. – Robert Hutton
I am thankful for COMPASSION because it helps me to be in other people’s shoes. Compassion is important because even if you are having a bad day someone might have compassion and want to cheer you up. There are so many amazing ways compassion can help you! – Ryan Kelly
I am thankful for LAUGHTER because laughing is something I love to do. To me, laughing is a sign of joy and happiness. Another reason I am thankful for laughter is that it brings happiness and love to the world. Because we have laughter there are more happy people in the world. – Lilly Redeker
I am thankful for PASSION because it gives me things to do and achieve. Because of my passion, I am different. – Michael Breheny
I am thankful for LEARNING because it helps me prepare for my future. I am able to know more and more every day. Learning makes me feel joyful because I have the ability to lean about many different subjects/topics. Without learning I would not be exposed to certain things and ideas. – Ava Esteb
I am very thankful for FREEDOM. I couldn’t be what I want to be or believe in what I want. America is a free country, and I live in America. Because of freedom, I don’t have to be scared of who I am. – Dominic Fay
I am thankful for HOLIDAYS because of their ability to bring together my family. Holidays are often anchor-points to release stress and to add happiness to our lives. – Jakob Alperin
I am thankful for TRADITIONS because most traditions include your family and friends. Traditions are fun! You can make the tradition better by adding more things to do with it. Most families have more than one tradition so you can experience more than just one tradition. Tradition affects me by going somewhere and handing out with family and having fun. – Carly Morris
I am thankful for KNOWLEDGE because it gives me a chance to live. If I didn’t have knowledge, I wouldn’t be able to go to school to remember things. I need knowledge to remember important things and be successful. Because of knowledge, I am able to be successful in anything I choose to do. – Jaxson Myers
I am thankful for IMAGINATION because there is no limit to anyone’s imagination. Without imagination, the world would be extremely boring. Anything or anyone could be part of an imagination. Imagination can give you a true feeling of your happiest times and moments. Imagination is like a dream that makes you forget about the sad times in life. It gives you the special power of expecting the extraordinary or the unexpected. Anyone can have an imagination because your mind is your only limit. – Ngan Nguyen
I am thankful for THE UNKNOWN because it makes life worth living. It means there’s always more things to be learned, no matter how old or smart you are. Learning about the unknown can give us a sense of accomplishment by expanding our knowledge. The unknown makes life more fulfilling and mysterious. – Kaley Klucz
I am thankful for CREATIVITY because I am a writer. Creativity gives my books an element of imagination that people can enjoy. Without creativity, my books would be boring. – Connor Duckworth
I am thankful for FUN because if there wasn’t fun in the world, the world would be boring. When I have fun, I hang out with my friends. Having fun to me is being with my friends and playing sports. – Gabe Boyd
I am thankful for MEMORIES because memories let me remember the past. Some people can’t remember things, I am grateful I can remember the fun things I have done. – Hannah Boswell
I am thankful for PEACE because if we didn’t have peace, we would be a bad, mean world. Peace is good because we can be civilized people. Because of peace, the world is a very nice peaceful world. – Scott Young
I am thankful for CHANGE because change made me meet new people. Change helps me discover new things. It also helped me to find new friends. – Jamill Valencla
I am thankful for the SUNSHINE. The sunshine is important because it brightens everyone’s day and makes them happy. It also makes people smile, and it makes other people feel good. When the sun is out it makes us want to be outside and enjoy the day too. Sunshine makes the day happy. – Ellie Grace Stevens
I am thankful for COMFORT because it helps people feel like they are safe. Comfort makes people feel loved and makes people feel like someone cares for them. Many people need comfort for many reasons. – Christy Estrada
I am thankful for LIFE because it is the existence of an individual being or animal. Without life, nothing we know and love would be a thing. Because of life, you are able to have emotions. – Wyatt Vinton
I am thankful for FREEDOM because we can live the way we want, we can play sports, we can go hunting or fishing, and we have the right to choose what faith we are. Freedom is so important because it can lead to enhanced expressions of creativity and original thought. – Palmer Harris
I am thankful for INNOVATION, as it gives everyone a better quality of life. Innovation is the pathway for the betterment of human kind. Innovation leads to groundbreaking discoveries, which leads to happiness and an ever-changing world. – Armando Zavala
I am thankful for SMILES because on a bad day, a smile cheers me up. Smiles on peoples’ faces brightens the day and makes others happy. Love and joy are spread to the world through smiles. – Grace Denegri
I am thankful for LAUGHTER because it can brighten up any day. Even if someone is sad, a simple joke or funny memory can make all of his or her worries disappear for a little while. Some of the best memories are made while laughing. – Allie Boutwell
I am thankful for COLOR because it makes the world look good. It makes everything have texture. Without color the world would look boring. – Joseph Russell
I am thankful for MUSIC because of its power. Music can be an escape for the mind because it can say things that you can’t express for yourself. Music is a way to communicate and understand others because there are so many styles of it. – Ines Maske
I am thankful for MEMORIES because they are important to me. They remind me of where I have been and how far I have come. Also, I love reminiscing on the good things of my past. Because of memories I am able to enjoy more. – Saylor Handwerker
I am thankful for HOPE because it gives me positivity and happiness. When we have hope it is easier to succeed. Hope is believing in something great and trying to fulfill that dream. I am thankful that my family and I have hope. – Nazar Abushanap
What purpose does education seek to fulfill? And are the schools across our cities and nation achieving that purpose? A consistent theme that runs throughout the last century when defining the purpose of education has been to help people reach their full potential in their individual lives and as members of society. The reality is that many students are falling through a gap and are becoming invisible to the educational institutions formed and responsible for fulfilling this purpose. It is estimated that 15% of students in Shelby County struggle with the current educational model due to a language based learning difference. These students will often fall short of ‘reading to learn’ by the end of 3rd grade, which puts them at greater risk of not graduating from high school. We have students throughout Memphis who possess above average creativity and intellect who are being left behind because they have not been presented with another approach beyond the conventional methods of education. This is not acceptable. There is great value in the traditional school setting from social interaction to collaborative learning that is crucial for all students’ learning experience. However, students with language based learning differences need a small student to teacher ratio and multiple forms of instruction individualized to meet their needs.
How do you blend this particularized form of instruction with the other positive aspects of a traditional model? Having experienced the struggle with our own child, and faced with extremely limited options, it caused us to seek solutions in other cities and schools. The answer to this question was discovered within several schools we visited and experienced. It was clear Memphis needed to discover this balance in learning approaches as well. Holy Rosary took up the challenge, and many are now experiencing the fruit from the willingness and commitment to meet the needs of students regardless of learning style or situation the student may be facing.
The Learning Center at Holy Rosary was formed in order to serve students within the community who are faced with a language based learning style that is not aligned with the traditional model of instruction. The Learning Center opened the door for an entirely new set of students struggling in particular with language based learning differences including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, etc. TLC students receive instruction in a small group setting (4:1 student to teacher ratio) specifically designed to meet their individual needs, allowing them to achieve their potential. The curriculum is a multi-sensory, structured learning model and is delivered by teachers extensively trained in this methodology.
Since The Learning Center’s inception in 2017, it has grown from a small classroom of 6 students and 2 teachers to 3 classrooms with 24 students and 6 teachers… and a growing waiting list. These students are thriving in The Learning Center and Holy Rosary community and add to the richness of the student body. The goal since day one has been to close the gap, teach students to be advocates for themselves and their learning, and to develop their capabilities to handle the mainstream classroom. Two students have successfully transitioned from the program, and that is something to celebrate!
Holy Rosary embraces the responsibility a school has to develop and nurture all students regardless of how they come through the front door. This ethos must be expanded to all schools preparing our future society, or we all will lose. Many of these students will go on to become leading edge artists, scientists, business/civic leaders, authors and the like because they were given the key to learning and cracked the code to discover their full potential, which has the power to change Memphis and the world.
To be a Ram- What does that mean?
Well, my answer is biased because I'm the A.D.
I'll give you my answer and you can read it when you have time,
But to keep your attention, I will tell you through a rhyme.
When you are a Ram, you are part of a special team.
No longer is it "I" and "me", but it's "us", "together", and "we."
My definition of being a Ram, which I wholeheartedly believe,
Is that it's more than a sports team- here, we are family.
In 2014 I received a very special call
It was a man from Holy Rosary by the name of David Hall
He said he needed a coach for the sport of Volleyball
I told him I wasn't sure if I could 'cause I was very busy in the Fall.
I was busy with school and working two jobs, but I decided to give it a try
And the true meaning of being a Ram really caught me by surprise.
I started with a team of 14 girls, and I had never coached before.
I would ask them to give me 100% and yet they always gave me more.
I went from not knowing a soul at the school, to team celebrations at the Pine Street Pub.
I knew from that first team that this school was different and filled with all the love.
Just a few months after coaching my first Holy Rosary team
I was hired as Athletic Director and it's been better than a dream.
The involvement of the students here display that Rams are unified
The students here want to play for their school because they have HR pride.
Being a Ram isn't just about participating in the church, athletics, or school.
It's participating in this community that makes your heart feel full.
It's not about throwing money at something when you need to get it done
It's about doing the task together and making memories and fun.
At times like the Italian festival, the Memphis community can see
The hard-earned results of Ram teamwork, friendship, and camaraderie.
A wonderful attribute to being a Ram is our love for God and our eagerness to pray.
Before each game, the Rams will huddle around and together we say:
"What I can do, I ought to do. And by the Grace of God, I will do"
"For my God, For my school, and for my team" too
This prayer exemplifies that God is the foundation of what it means to be a Ram
Through God all things are possible, and the mindset of "yes, I can!"
The most important thing from this poem that I would really like to stress
is that the right definition of R.A.M.S. is Right Attitude Means Sucess
Sigh. I swear it was just last week that it was Memorial Day weekend and I was hauling my MIF tshirt collection out trying to decide which ones I was going to wear this year. And now I’m hauling uniform shorts out of drawers and forcing them on a very resistant 9- year old only to find out that he had a growth spurt and the stockpile of shorts I had was all for not. Fortunately, the shoe store still had his Merrell’s in stock and we were able to grab the last pairs of shorts in his size at our second stop. A swing by Jerry’s as a reward to him for having a good attitude and a reward to me for the very same reason and we’re home. Mission Accomplished.
The one thing I did at the end of school year before mentally checking out for the summer payed off- I had printed out last year’s school supply list and when he came home with a backpack of school supply leftovers I highlighted what we now had and stashed them away in his backpack ready to go for the next school year. The school supply list may have some changes year to year but it’s usually pretty consistent so this small step saves me a lot of time and money every year.
I’d like to say I was one of those supermoms who meal preps every Sunday for the entire week but I spend my Sunday afternoons either at soccer practice or curled up on the couch with my dogs in bitter denial of the inevitable Mondays. What I do (maybe once a month), however, especially because my kids’ schedules require the planning skills of a D-day invasion, is make enormous quantities of spaghetti sauce, gumbo and crawfish etouffee to freeze in family dinner size portions so that on busy nights all I have to do is throw one out in the morning to defrost and then come home to reheat while making pasta or rice. I also keep the freezer stocked with pork tenderloins to be baked while we do homework or are preparing to go to practice. Brinner- Breakfast for Dinner- is a very popular quick, easy and cheap option. And my devotion to a baked chicken from Costco could be expressed in interpretive dance.
No matter how organized I make the practical side of the start of a new school year, I’m never emotionally ready. I love having all my little birds in my nest and with one in college, one a senior in high school and one beginning fourth grade I greedily grasp onto each moment I get with them knowing how fleeting this time is. So we’ll probably hit Jerry’s again. And maybe Gus’ and Gibson’s as well. Take the pups to Shelby Farms to watch the sun set on the lake or even just float in the pool and daydream together about next summer.