Celebrating Schools

Buddies hanging together outside JFK Catholic School in Washington, PA.

Despite ongoing challenges, there’s a lot to celebrate as Catholic Schools Week kicks off Sunday, January 30, with students learning in-person and serving others, while enrollment is up.

That’s the assessment of Jon Cuniak, interim administrator of the Pittsburgh-East Catholic Regional Elementary Schools

“Catholic Schools Week is a great example of how our faith is embedded into everything we do in our schools,” Cuniak told Father Tom Burke on Catholic Education Plus “We work with our teachers to grow in their own faith…so that they can help our students achieve the ultimate goal, and that is getting (them) to heaven.”

Catholic Education Plus airs Sunday Jan. 30 at 6:30 a.m. on KDKA-AM. Following the broadcast, the show will be available at: https://www.audacy.com/kdkaradio/podcasts/catholic-education-plus-20662

Divine Mercy Academy in Monroeville is a good example of faith in action. The school is celebrating  parish, community and students the first three days, with an opening Mass at St. Bernadette Church, students writing thank you letters to community workers, creating support posters for local businesses, and sending Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day cards for Meals on Wheels recipients and retired religious.

Enrollment in secondary schools in the diocese increased 4.3 percent in the past year. The number of students in Catholic schools nationwide is up four percent, according to the National Catholic Education Association.

In grades Pre-K to 8 in the diocese, the increase is even greater—6.2 percent, according to Michelle Peduto, diocesan director of Catholic Schools.

Cuniak praised educators, students and parents for continuing to follow COVID-19 guidelines, despite the pandemic lasting longer than many people expected.

In the North Hills Region, the Ancient Order of Hibernians continue to support Catholic Schools. Regional school principals each received $1,000 to help students with tuition needs.

The Pittsburgh-East Region was formed after the North Hills region to help strengthen elementary schools, providing families with access to Catholic elementary schools that are academically excellent, spiritually vibrant and financially sustainable. The South Region was the third to be established.

Kindergartners at St. Louise de Marillac School in Upper St. Clair working on their “My Snowman Melted” project.