Prayer, learning and service to others

Prayer, learning and service to others

Prayer, learning and service to others are a way of life at South Jersey Catholic Schools.

I have been thinking a lot lately about a letter I received from Allison DeCarlo, a young teacher at Saint Vincent de Paul Regional School in Mays Landing.

She wrote: “Teaching has been my passion for as long as I can remember; however, it was not until I began my career at Saint Vincent’s that I realized how much my faith has impacted my teaching. Being a second grade teacher, I am entrusted with the duty of preparing my students for two important sacraments in the Catholic Church. My experiences have made me realize the connection between faith and teaching, and I honestly cannot picture my classroom any other way.”

Allison’s words are beautifully aligned with the mission and vision statements, logo and tagline we developed for South Jersey Catholic Schools in 2016. Our mission, to educate and inspire young minds spiritually, academically and in service to others, can only be achieved with, as Allison puts it, “the connection between faith and teaching.” Inherent in that connection is a desire to serve others. And what better example of service to others than the commitment to teach in a Catholic school?

Our tagline, the gift of a lifetime, does not end with the children who attend our schools. The gift is spread through prayer, learning and service to others. It’s a gift that keeps giving as our students become faith-filled adults who, led by gospel values, shape our world with knowledge, integrity and compassion, fulfilling our vision for South Jersey Catholic schools and supporting the broader mission of our church. The gift of a lifetime transcends generations as families continue the Catholic school tradition.

Allison said she sees “some of her own roots influencing [her] experience now.” A graduate of the former Blessed Sacrament School in Margate, she went to Holy Spirit High School, then Rowan University, where she became involved in the campus Newman Center and saw her faith deepening. Wanting to connect her faith with her career, she applied for a teaching job within the diocese. Her application came with highest recommendations from a priest who knew her character and level of commitment.

Soon, Allison will celebrate another important sacrament, marriage. Unfortunately relocation comes with the package, and she will not be able to commute to Mays Landing. She is open to all possibilities but hopeful a job in another Catholic school will open up near her new home.

“I have given a lot of thought to where I want to teach. … I know that my heart is in Catholic education. … I truly believe that is where I belong,” she wrote.

Student turned teacher, still receiving and still giving the gift of a lifetime.

Mary Boyle is superintendent of schools, Diocese of Camden.

Categories: Catholic School News

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