This week at St. Benedict Classical Academy (and at Catholic schools across the nation) is Catholic Schools Week. It is a week when families, students, teachers, and staff take a moment to celebrate all that is beautiful about being a part of a community of Faith. The national theme for the week is Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community, which “symbolizes the united community of Catholic schools – not a building or an institution, but people of faith serving God and others.”
One way in which SBCA fosters a sense of community and a love of our faith is through our Houses of Faith (HOF) program, named after four very important saints in the Church’s history. Each student in our school belongs to one of our four Houses of Faith: St. Anselm, St. Scholastica, St. Catherine of Siena, or St. Thomas Aquinas. All grade levels are represented in each House, and siblings and extended families are kept together. The HOF meetings are planned by faculty, but led by our 6th grade students. This presents a wonderful opportunity for our eldest students to step into leadership roles and demonstrate the virtues that we hope to instill daily. Each sixth-grade student, with supervision support from teachers, plays a part in making sure the meetings run smoothly by facilitating the activities.
Throughout the year, each House meets about once a month. During these gatherinds, students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 meet outside on the turf for a friendly competition between Houses, which rotates between grades. Students then divide into their individual HOF for a meeting led by their 6th grade leaders. The meeting begins with a prayer, the “secret” handshake, and then is followed by an activity. During HOF meetings this year, students have participated in a variety of activities, such as hearing stories about famous and lesser-known saints, making cards for the elderly at St. Patrick’s Manor, praying the Stations of the Cross, learning about St. Therese of Lisieux’s ‘little way’ and making sacrifice beads, and playing saint bingo. The beauty of our HOF program is all of our students become part of a secondary community at SBCA – one in which they are able to further engage in their faith through their interactions with students across grades. This, in turn, allows our students to better understand how they are part of something more than just a single class or grade. I cannot tell you how often I see older students cheering on younger students or high-fiving Kindergarteners with a “Go Anselm” or “St. Thomas! St. Thomas!” in the hallways or at recess. As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week (and end on Friday with our February HOF meeting), let us pray for our community that our bond continues to grow as strong as those of the Houses of Faith!
AUTHOR: Katie Boren, Grade 4 Teacher