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Divine Redeemer kicks off Catholic Schools Week

Renatta Signorini
| Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009

The sticky green substance waiting for first-grader Ryan Bartosiewicz at his seat was the same he had just learned about in a Dr. Seuss book.

"Ooh, it's oobleck," he exclaimed.

Students at Divine Redeemer in Ford City began celebrating Catholic Schools Week on Monday with funky hairdos and a reading day. Sixth-graders read a variety of Dr. Seuss books to their younger peers -- including "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" -- and conducted an activity related to the stories

Groups of students let homemade green oobleck -- a substance that acts as a liquid and solid made from cornstarch and water -- ooze through their fingers in one classroom. Oobleck is a fictitious form of precipitation in the Dr. Seuss book.

Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of the role religious education plays in the community.

"It gives us an opportunity to show the community what the school can do," said John Shaner, principal of Divine Redeemer.

The week, which is celebrated nationally, features activities and a service project, Shaner said. At Divine Redeemer, students have a reading day and service project -- students will make crafts today for patients at ACMH Hospital.

The week also gives the students, and adults, a chance to do something a little different. This week's schedule includes days reserved for crazy socks and pajamas, a puppet show, a movie and a dance.

Registration is being held this week and will continue until the new school year. Tuition assistance is available.

The school is not just for Catholic families, said administrative assistant Patty Milligan -- about 15 students are not Catholic.

The religion difference doesn't seem to hinder a parent's choice -- the individual attention a student gets can be beneficial, as well as education on morals and ethics, Shaner said.

"They do want their child to learn the curriculum and have the opportunity to advance their faith," he said.

The cooperation and togetherness of Catholic Schools Week helps the students get to know each other, making the school community closer, Milligan said. Most teachers know all of the students, she said, making it easy to look out for each other.

Some parents seem to like "the way that everybody knows everybody else," she said.

"It continues to be just kind of a family-oriented school," Shaner said. "It's very tight-knit."

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