Once a month at CCHS, students gather in small units called “Living in God’s House Together, or LIGHT, groups” to discuss and strengthen their faith together. Led by a teacher or counselor, groups talk about everything from the changes in the Roman Missal to our own religious affiliations. Last week, while celebrating Catholic School’s Week, my group’s discussion got me thinking about why going to a Catholic school is such a life-changing experience.
“So, after attending Cathedral for four years, would any of you want to send your children to Catholic school?” asked Government teacher and leader of my LIGHT group Melissa Padgett. From the side of the room, I heard a voice respond, “Definitely not.” I couldn’t help but feel my jaw drop at that comment.
The senior went on to say how going to a Catholic school really limits opportunities to take electives and get high GPA’s compared to public school students. They said we have a limited amount of freedom as well. Those were all valid points, I suppose, but I think they missed the point.
Some agreed, while others were indifferent about it.
“Well, has going to a Catholic school affected you at all?” asked Ms. Padgett. This question immediately received a very different response from the group.
One student said they were impressed by how well our school comes together, and the whole group unanimously nodded in agreement. Another said that our school has an insanely supportive community, which, again, got a lot of agreement.
During the worst tragedies that have plagued both the CCHS community and other communities around us, like Torrey Pines High School, our school immediately comes together to pray, support, and love. On the other side of the spectrum, at sporting events, plays, and other student activities, the Dons come together to cheer their peers on.
As I sat there in my LIGHT group, looking around at my CCHS peers and friends, I realized how much I have been affected by attending a Catholic school. Sure, many students would think there are certain disadvantages, like the required religion classes or maybe the restricting uniforms, but if you ask me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Of course, taking a religion class for every semester of high school has strengthened my faith, but people often overlook all the other ways Catholic school changes us.
Through retreats, I have learned what it means to open up your heart and mind. Through all the class and school-wide masses, I have learned all about unity and the warm feeling you get when you realize you are a part of such a strong family. Through tragedies, my classmates have taught me to stay faithful and to believe. And finally, and possibly most importantly, I have learned about the power of prayer.
Every morning over the announcements blaring through the speakers, we pray as a school. At the start of every class, someone leads prayer, asking for any special intentions so every person can hold them in their heart. Morning prayer is also offered every morning, for anyone who needs extra prayers or strength. It’s truly amazing to think back on my experience at Cathedral and realize how much prayer has helped me through everything life has thrown at me.
As a Catholic, I naturally have certain beliefs and ideas, but if I never attended a Catholic school for the past four years, I can definitely say I’d be a different person. I have learned how to be, not only a good Catholic, but also a good family member to any member of the Cathedral Catholic community.