Catholic Schools Week Scholarship Giveaway – 2024January 26, 2024
Daniel Alimo, Aim Higher Alumnus, Joins Scholarship CommitteeJanuary 31, 2024
As a parent of two Catholic school students, the deja-vu of Catholic Schools Week is something that, if I’m being completely honest, requires a little bit of extra patience this time of year. My children, like most children, thrive in routine. Pajama-, mis-match-, jersey-, dress like a teacher-day, paired with fun activities and modified class schedules makes for memorable school days for my second and fourth grader—and some version of recurring controlled chaos for their parents each year.
That annual feeling of deja-vu is made more apparent after I drop the kids off at school (spiked, colored hair and all) and make my way to the Aim Higher Foundation offices. It’s Catholic Schools Week, the most visible time of the year for the single most effective system of schools the country has ever seen. No system of schools has been as successful at educating the poor, welcoming immigrant populations, and producing future leaders. At scale, no other ministry of the American Church has been as sustainably excellent at evangelization and engaging young people in the faith.
This Catholic Schools Week, like every Catholic Schools Week, it’s clear that the imperative for Catholic schools has never been more pronounced. And yes, it may feel a little deja-vu like to say so over and over again, but here are three reasons I believe why:
First and foremost, as a country, we continue to grapple with an education crisis that has left a profound impact on today’s children. The closure of schools during the pandemic dealt a severe blow to the educational progress of countless students. And yet, amidst this turmoil, Catholic schools emerged as a replicable, scalable (and cost effective!!) model of academic rigor and character formation in a time of our history when children needed it most. These institutions weathered the storm with remarkable resilience, avoiding the drastic drop in test scores that plagued other schools. And their work continues as the rest of the nation struggles to get back on track.
Secondly, the importance of Catholic schools is underscored by the stark reality faced by low-income and immigrant families. Often situated in neighborhoods with limited access to quality education options, these families find themselves at a disadvantage when seeking a path to the American dream. Herein lies the untapped potential of Catholic schools as a lifeline for these families. With their proven, research-backed ability to serve all populations, Catholic schools offer a viable alternative, bridging the gap and affording these families the opportunity to break the cycle of educational disparity.
And finally, why are Catholic schools more important than ever? Because the children of your city, your community, your country deserve it. Regardless of their background, financial situation, or ethnicity—we owe it to all children to provide nothing short of the very best education options available. Our obligation extends beyond accepting mediocrity. It transcends the notion of settling for second best. Every child deserves access to an education that not only equips them with academic prowess but also instills values, fosters character, and prepares them to be compassionate, resilient individuals.
Catholic schools, with their time-tested commitment to holistic education, emerge as the guardians of this philosophy. The resilience of Catholic schools in the face of an education crisis, their pivotal role in providing excellent education options for disadvantaged families, and their unwavering commitment to offering the very best to every child make them indispensable in our quest for a brighter, more equitable future. This Catholic Schools Week, let’s turn the deja-vu of the Catholic school story, more relevant than ever before, into action, and rally behind the efforts to strengthen them and make them accessible to all.