QUEENSLAND’S 300 Catholic school communities are taking up the challenge to find new ways of opening doors for students, parents, staff and the broader community as they celebrate Catholic Education Week from July 24-30.
Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Lee-Anne Perry said the week of celebration was a time to focus on the achievements of Catholic schools across the state.
“From Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School on Thursday Island in the far north, south to St Augustine’s at Currumbin Waters on the Gold Coast and west to our three schools and early-learning centre in Mt Isa, we’ll be celebrating the many and varied ways Catholic schools help students to reach their full potential,” Dr Perry said.
“Catholic Education Week is all about celebrating the distinctive ethos of Catholic schools and our focus on the whole student.
“It’s also a chance to recognise the fantastic work done by more than 19,000 staff in Catholic schools in Queensland.”
Eight recipients of the Spirit of Catholic Education Awards announced last week will be presented with their awards at the official launch of Catholic Education Week.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones will be on hand to present the awards to teachers and school staff from throughout Queensland.
This year’s Catholic Education Week launch is taking place in conjunction with the P&F Presidents’ Dinner, an annual event recognising the strong partnership between parents and Catholic schools.
“Parents play a vital role in all Catholic schools,” Dr Perry said.
“Parents are involved with their own child’s academic progress but the parents in our schools give so much more and are engaged on many levels.
“They are the volunteers reading in classrooms, serving meals at tuckshops, tirelessly raising funds to provide students with extra opportunities, sharing their professional expertise and contributing financially through school fees.
“Parents support school staff and work with them to make the most of the many opportunities available to give their children a holistic education experience.
“The launch is an opportunity to publicly thank parents for all they do to make Catholic education the success story that it is.”
Many schools will also acknowledge parents during Catholic Education Week by running special Parents’ Day activities.
Another highlight of this year’s events will be a tour by Queensland singer songwriter Josh Arnold performing a song he wrote especially for Catholic Education Week.
The song celebrates the diversity of Catholic education across a vast state but also focuses on the elements of faith and learning common to all Catholic schools.
Josh will visit the Brisbane, Toowoomba, Townsville and Cairns dioceses, performing the song and engaging students in music activities.
Dr Perry said the song was just one more way of reminding the community of the enormous contribution of Catholic education to Queensland over more than 150 years.
“In that time we may have gone from slates to computers but Catholic schools have always opened their doors to students of all backgrounds and abilities,” she said.
“In 2016 we continue to strive to open doors to opportunities for young people, challenge them to live out the message of Jesus and reach their full potential as compassionate, contributing, life-giving members of society.”