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Divine Redeemer celebrates Catholic Schools Week

FORD CITY — Students at Divine Redeemer School were full of smiles on Tuesday as they sat in rapt attention for the Sadecky Puppet show, one of the events to celebrate Catholic Schools Week.

All eyes were fixed on the colorful puppets during the performance of the "Magic Carpet Ride" show. The event was open to the public, and a number of parents and grandparents joined students for the afternoon performance. Many of the students -- preschool through sixth grade -- wore shirts showing off their favorite sports team.

Principal Nicalena Carlesi, wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates shirt, said the school is like a family.

"We work very closely with parents," she said. "It's a continuous circle of communication that never stops."

According to the National Catholic Education Association website, there are 6,980 Catholic schools in the country. The number includes elementary and secondary schools. Catholic Schools Week focuses on faith, academics and service.

Divine Redeemer students had a chance to put that focus into action with the kickoff to the week's events.

On Monday, sixth-graders found out what it was like to be teachers for the day. The day happened to fall on the 100th day of school. Sixth-graders planned lessons with a craft activity and read to eight groups of students from preschool through fifth grade, Carlesi said. Divine Redeemer has 154 students enrolled.

As the week progresses, the school plans to extend its welcome to the community.

Carlesi said Catholic schools offer something special.

"It's wonderful to start the day with a prayer and pray for the whole community," she said. "It is about forming that whole person, it's not just about academics."

MORE EVENTS PLANNED

Carlesi said that family members are invited to join students at school for a "Spuds with Buds" luncheon at 11 a.m. today. Lunch will be followed by an early dismissal at noon with bus transportation provided for family skating from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Belmont Complex.

The week's events wrap up on Thursday, Carlesi said, when students can wear pajamas to school and watch movies. There will be an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. with supper available. There will be no school on Friday for students because of parent/teacher conferences.

For more information, call 724-763-3761.

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