39th annual Catholic Schools Week kicks off with carnivals, community service
About 21,000 students in the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese are celebrating the 39th annual Catholic Schools Week with a combination of prayer, community service and fun.
“A lot of them are doing charity-type things” this week, said Michael Latusek, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese.
Catholic Schools Week runs nationally from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. This year's theme is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” Schools in the region generally start the week with a Mass, and some hold carnivals, but community service is a dominant theme. Here are some of the service activities planned:
• Christ the Divine Teacher Academy, Aspinwall, and St. Vitus School, New Castle, are making Valentines for several organizations.
• North American Martyrs School, Monroeville, is making toys for the animals at Animals Friends.
• St. Mary's School, Glenshaw, is raising money for the Lymphoma Society with a basketball shooting event.
• Christ the Divine Teacher began making cards for special occasions a couple of years ago for senior citizens in Meals on Wheels and veterans at the nearby H.J. Heinz campus of the VA Healthcare System in Aspinwall.
“It might sound like a simple little thing, but for some senior citizen living alone, when they get their meal with a bright card and a silly joke, it cheers them up,” said Sister Dorothy Dolak, principal of Christ the Divine Teacher.
• Junior Achievement will teach 3,621 students in 17 Catholic Schools about business and economics, with business leaders teaching the students what it takes to be successful.
As it celebrates its schools, the diocese also recognizes the challenges they face. Enrollment in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the diocese has fallen from 23,000 students in 2010-11 to 21,000 this year. That's a decrease of 8.7 percent. As a result, 11 schools closed over the past two years.
Latusek said some parishes have formed consortium schools, supported by parishes of the merging schools.
“Rather than two or three (parishes) running schools with fewer students, they merged” to allow variety and larger classrooms, he said. He said it is up to parishes to decide whether to merge.
The diocese this week is beginning the Catholic Schools Network, a marketing platform to promote the 91 parochial schools in Allegheny, Butler, Beaver, Lawrence, Greene and Washington counties. The campaign, promoted at www.CatholicSchoolsNetwork.net, allows each parochial school to create its own community-oriented marketing and outreach to promote itself.
The diocese also plans to open Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in the fall of 2014 in Cranberry. It will replace North Catholic High School in Troy Hill.
Bill Zlatos is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.