Name a school where the students can have fun, can get a good education and can learn about Jesus Christ. There’s not many with that great combination. But, Holy Family Catholic Junior High in Elmira offers all three and more.
Now why would anyone want to go to a Catholic school? Well, on a social basis, I do because you make lifelong friends who share the same values as you since they go to a Catholic school too. You can really relate to them. Also a Catholic school shows you how to be compassionate, caring and kind. That you don’t learn only in your classes, but throughout the whole school day. By doing that, you soon learn respect for others. What we learn is that if you want people to respect you, you have to respect them. Another reason for going to Catholic school is the faculty and staff. They treat you like family. You are not just a student, but they care about you as a person. This is an experience you don’t always get elsewhere. The last reason is because I have had so much fun here. I always have looked forward each day to being at school.
For academic reasons I love going here because the teachers help you if you don’t understand something. They help you understand the material thoroughly. I have gone for help and none of them have ever turned me down, which shows how much they care. The classes here are advanced so I can learn more, and that will help me in high school. The classes are smaller so there’s more teaching on a one-to-one basis. Another reason I have learned so well is because there have been great learning materials and teachers have a lot of hands-on activities. I find I learn best through hands-on experiences. With all the classes that I have taken, I know that I am well-prepared for high school.
Besides the core subjects, there also are auxiliary classes, such as Latin, chorus, band, music appreciation, art and computers. There are clubs and groups to join such as Builders Club, Social Ministry, the play, music ministry and dance committees. There also are lots of sports options such as basketball, soccer, golf, track and ski club. All these activities help you socialize, learn skills and have fun.
The reason that my parents send me to Catholic school is so I can experience a wonderful education. They also want me to learn about God. Many people will wonder — why learn about God? Well, I am a Catholic, and it is a privilege to learn about my faith. My parents want me to learn from teachers who center their lives around their faith.
One week each year when the students have so much fun would definitely be Catholic Schools Week. There were so many great activities. We had a locker contest where you could compete by decorating your locker door with the school theme — Catholic Schools: The Good News in Education. During lunch we had a make-your-own sundae sponsored by our parent group. For two days we had sixth-graders visit us so they could experience what we do every day. It is like an introduction to seventh grade for them. We had a great time, too, because a lot of us have friends in sixth grade, so we got to spend time with them. At the end of the week we went to Mass with our other two Holy Family schools. This is the biggest Mass of the year because it includes kindergarten through eighth grade. At this Mass, I helped lead the songs. After Mass we had classes and then went home to get ready for our special dance. The dance was a great social experience. We got to dance and hang out with our classmates for three hours.
A Catholic-school education has made a huge impact on my life. The teachers, staff and my classmates are like another family to me. Without this school, my education would not be as rich, and I would miss out on some wonderful people in my life.
Jessica is an eighth-grader at Holy Family Junior High School in Elmira