St. John Vianney Catholic School celebrates diversity

Orlando | Fifty-two clocks, telling the time in 52 nations, cover a wall at St. John Vianney (SJV) Catholic School. The number is significant because it represents the number of cultures represented by the student body at the Orlando dual-language school.

On Oct. 2, the SJV community celebrated its diversity during the school’s annual Heritage Day. The day began with the celebration of Mass, celebrated by Father Carlos Cabán. Third graders, dressed in traditional costumes and carrying the flags of the many nations, led the procession and served as readers and gift bearers. At the end of Mass, they read a reflection, performed a dance and sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth” in sign language.

The day continued with a Eucharistic procession around campus, followed by a cultural social, where students displayed posters describing their assigned country and sharing a food from that land.

“Our cultural Heritage Day is an event that symbolizes who we are as children of God,” said Cathy Marshall, principal.  “It is an opportunity for us to notice each other and be grateful for our diversity. Today as a Catholic Community we walked with each other in Eucharistic procession as one body, one world. It is a day that we are united in the love of Christ.”

Recognizing diversity is part of everyday life at SJV. The school is part of a two-way immersion program that provides classroom instruction using a dual-language model. It is the only dual-language school in the diocese.

Fifty percent of classroom instruction is taught in English and 50 percent in Spanish.  The program began in the fall of 2017 with Pre-K 4, and each year another grade level has been added, as the original class progresses through the grade levels. The first class is now in first grade.

Special to Linda Caldwell of the Florida Catholic October 2, 2019