Catholic Schools Week may have only lasted seven days (Jan. 26 – Feb. 1), but at Holy Family in Orlando, the preparation for this event-filled week started more than a month prior to events. From designing field day stations, to prepping lesson plans for the annual eighth grade “Takeover”, to participating in the traditional essay contest, planning the celebration for Catholic education begins long before the festivities.
The week began with Holy Family hosting an open house for anyone interested in touring and experiencing the wonderful school. Holy Family’s very own National Junior Honor Society students, along with members of the Parent-Staff Association, acted as tour guides to guests. They experienced a typical day firsthand and saw how Holy Family puts God first. After the gates closed and each visitor got the chance to have their questions answered, the Walk-a-thon began (pictured above). The annual event benefits Orphans Rising; a charitable organization led by the Filippini Sisters, Its goal is to be of assistance to children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic occurring in their homeland of Italy. For the three weeks leading up to the Walk-a-thon, the Reach Out Committee, a student led service group, was hard at work. They cut out giant letters, glued them to posters, and on the day of the Walk-a-thon, they hung them up to spell out the event’s slogan, “One step closer to a brighter future.” As students came out to the track, they completed their laps with the help of a group of middle school students. In honor of their great work, every student that made a donation enjoyed an ice cream treat and spent time outside with their friends.
One of the most exciting parts of the week was Tuesday, field day. What most of Holy Family does not know is how hard the class of 2020 worked to make field day the success it was. Nearly a month out, athletic director and middle school physical education coach, Rese McNatt, explained the plan to the eighth-graders. Placed into groups, they planned out every detail of their station. After they presented the station to Filippini Sister Dorothy Sayers, principal and Coach McNatt, they began gathering materials for the big day. Field day went off without a hitch. Students of all grade levels had a wonderful time. “The 8th grade students are the backbone of our Field Day success,” Coach McNatt said. “They exuded leadership throughout the entire journey having to create, present, construct, and implement their innovative and unique stations on campus.”
On Wednesday, Holy Family’s volunteers came together to be acknowledged for their many hours of service. They enjoyed breakfast, courtesy of the culinary team, and listened to choral performances by the elementary and middle school show choirs. That afternoon, both the older and younger students had fun events of their own. Fourth through eighth grade students had the opportunity to listen to guest speakers talk about their occupations and their importance. This allowed the students to hear about the many vocations in which they can succeed. While career day was taking place, the school opened the gates again for parents in grades kindergarten through third grade to watch their children in the annual talent show.
Thursday of Catholic Schools Week marked one of the most popular days of the year at Holy Family, the “Eighth Grade Takeover”. For one day, eighth grade students took over the school. From Pre-k to art to seventh grade, the class of 2020 did it all. They planned each lesson weeks in advance, met with the teachers, and hit the ground running Thursday morning.
Friday marked the end of Catholic Schools Week (CSW) at Holy Family. The entire student body came together that morning to go to mass and thank God for the gift of Catholic schools. Friday also marked the final day for teachers to submit their class winner of the CSW Essay Contest. Concluding festivities, the Class of 2020 played the school staff in volleyball as a reward for their hard work. It ended the fun-filled and equally meaningful week on a high note.
Article written by eighth grade students Grace C. and Zach W., of Holy Family Catholic School, Orlando.
February 11, 2020