Catholic schools across the country including St. Paul School in Salem are celebrating Catholic Schools Week. It began yesterday and runs through Saturday. The Youngstown Diocese is actually celebrating Catholic Schools Month.
This year's theme is Catholic Schools Raise the Standards. Activities are planned at churches and schools nationwide to help call attention to education that adds a dimension beyond the textbooks - one that encourages students to live their faith as part of their daily lives.
According to the National Catholic Education Association, there are 2,031,455 students enrolled in 6,841 Catholic schools across the nation. A total of 19.3 percent of that enrollment is made up of racial minorities. Professional staff members total 151,385, and the student-teacher ratio is 13 to 1. There were 34 new schools opened last year, while 167 were consolidated or closed.
What may be a little surprising is that 312,732 students, or 15.4 percent of the total enrollment, is non-Catholic.
Education in Catholic schools requires commitment, dedication and sacrifice from parents, who must pay tuition that averages $3,673 per elementary pupil and $8,182 per secondary pupil.
Like their public school counterparts, Catholic schools develop students who are well-versed in academics. But Catholic schools go beyond that, teaching hope, the belief in right and wrong and faith without the constraints often imposed in our increasingly politically correct world. This is becoming critically important in today's loose values society.
With that in mind, we recognize educators at St. Paul School and all Catholic Schools in our region. St.?Paul School got its start way back in 1904. Since then, thousands of students have received solid education provided against a spiritual backdrop. The school has produced a number of teachers, doctors, engineers and upstanding members across all professions and avocations. The school molded many value-grounded future parents who passed along those rearing skills to their own children. There have been so many former St. Paul students who remain in the Salem area today - some returning back home after living elsewhere. Many have had their children exposed to the St. Paul experience.
By proclaiming gospel values, building faith communities, and performing service to others, St. Paul School is committed to promoting and continuing the Catholic faith tradition. It does a wonderful job in promoting all of the overall principles of the Catholic faith. Our community is better because of that. We salute St. Paul School of Salem during Catholic Schools Month.