Little Flower parish, school celebrate Catholic Schools Week
Students, teachers and parents spent a busy week at Little Flower School celebrating faith-based education with games, dress-up days, prayer and service activities.
The celebration marked National Catholic Schools Week, held Jan. 26 through Feb. 1.
St. Therese the Little Flower Parish kicked off the celebration Sunday with a Catholic Schools Mass for students and families.
“There was a letter from (Bishop John Fulda of the Fargo Diocese) that was read at Mass yesterday about the importance of children attending Catholic schools and all of the things that Catholic schools do for us,” Little Flower Principal Kim Anderson told the Tribune.
Anderson said encouraging community members to visit Little Flower School played a large role in the celebration. The school set aside Wednesday for an open house and supper for the public to enjoy.
“It’s a week of celebrating and encouraging people to visit the school to see all the things we do here,” Anderson noted.
Anderson said Catholic schools offer unique qualities children don’t get from public schools.
“Probably the biggest thing is the faith-based aspect that’s intertwined in everything we do at the school all day long,” Anderson said.
“It’s just kind of how the whole day revolves at our school. It’s based around faith. We try to grow our students in all aspects that will help them in their lives,” Anderson added.
“We do a lot of things with service. That’s our motto. After we do our school motto every morning, that’s ‘Respect God, respect ourselves and respect others.’ That’s kind of what our whole day revolves around,” Anderson noted.
Anderson said each school day had a different theme and activity planned.
Monday, students and school staff dressed up in jerseys from their favorite sports teams. A teacher wearing a Green Bay Packers beanie escorted her first graders into the school while a student wearing NDSU Bison gear held the door.
Little Flower’s parent-teacher organization, or PTO, honored teachers and support staff by taking them out to lunch.
Anderson said, “Our parents — all schools have parent support, but we have an amazing amount of support from our PTO — they actually arranged to come in at 11:15 today to take over all classrooms, lunch room and recess and they’re sending us all out for lunch.”
Picking up a metal insulated coffee mug with engraved Little Flower School logo, Anderson added, “These showed up on our desks this morning, and they’re all filled with our favorite drinks from the coffee shop.”
“And that happens all year long. We get blessed and spoiled by our families and our parents here,” Anderson smiled.
PTO volunteers joined school staff and a few former Little Flower students to work in booths and organize games at the school carnival Sunday.
Volunteer Karleen Blessum worked at a prize booth at Sunday’s carnival. She told the Tribune the event has been a Little Flower School tradition for “more than twenty years. More than I know. More than I’ve been here.”
“We have concessions, Bingo and all sorts of games for little kids all the way up to adults. We have a cake walk, basketball shooting, a pig race and all sorts of things,” she said.
Families from throughout the community filled the Rugby Armory building for the carnival and enjoyed sloppy joes, nachos and other treats on the armory stage.
“The surrounding communities come as well (to the carnival). We usually have a really good turnout.”
Blessum said funds raised by the carnival “go toward books, supplies and things for the school and the kids.”
Blessum said Catholic Schools Week “raises awareness and (celebrates) the different things kids in Catholic schools get to do that the kids in public schools don’t get to do.”
“Right now,” Blessum added, “my husband and I have three kids (at Little Flower School): a fifth grader, a second grader and then a preschooler. We have six girls, and they’ve all been through the Little Flower School.”
The Blessums’ daughter Brooke is active in sports at Rugby High School and serves as a Catholic Youth Organization officer.
Blessum said she was thankful “for sure that they’re getting religion-based education every day. We just really enjoy it. The kids do well. They like the small classrooms. It’s been wonderful.”
“They get to partake in the mass every week,” Blessum added. “They can talk about Jesus and learn about Jesus. It’s wonderful.”
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