The following article was contributed by Ms. Casey Buckstaff, MNA, MAT, principal at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic School in Severna Park, Maryland.
As we prepared for Catholic Schools Week last Friday, I asked for some faculty help at the end of the day. Our theme this year is “Our school is good soil,” based on the Parable of the Sower; and we wanted to create a “garden” with a flower designed by each child and faculty member in the school. It would be a beautiful surprise as they arrived for Catholic Schools Week. It would have taken my whole day Saturday to hang up 500 flowers throughout the school. By the time I came in from parking lot duty after school, I found 500 flowers lining our halls.
Later that same Friday night, I drove with a teacher to Annapolis to watch the pre-CSW tradition, a basketball game between our 8th grade boys and girls teams and a local Catholic school rival. At halftime of the first game, I looked down the crowded bleachers. Not only were they filled with St. John parents and students of all ages, but I counted 14 faculty members there in the crowds. Lower and upper school teachers, some who never had taught the student-athletes out on the court.
The following night, we welcomed the Archbishop to our campus. He was here to celebrate Mass and then to open a beautiful new parish activities center on campus, a gym and meeting space whose space more than doubled our previous café-gym-atorium. I had reserved a large number of pews for my faculty and their families, and as Mass began, I looked out at them. My heart over-flowed with love and joy and the blessing that is my Catholic school faculty; gathered to celebrate our parish and school as we continue to grow together.
There is never a day I begrudge walking through the doors of my school because I know I walk through these doors with some of the very best teachers, the most faithful disciples, the most hard-working people I know. People I have come to love and respect, challenge and nurture, as they do the work to sow the seeds in the good soil that is the hearts and minds of our children.
This is the story of my faculty; this is the story of Catholic school teachers and staff all over the United States. This is the story of women and men whose vocation is at the heart of the faith, family, and academics of all our Catholic schools.
On this day, schools will honor teachers and principals as well as administrators and staff who support them in their important work and thank the parents, grandparents, alumni, parishioners and school board members who provide volunteer service.