Still different where it counts

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A much loved tradition at Cape Trinity Catholic School in Wildwood is the Kahoot Knowledge Bowl, held in the auditorium with the entire school. This team of seventh and eighth graders includes, in front, Trevor Frey and Allyson Vessels; back, Abigail Frederick (left) and Charlie Cunningham Hackney.
Students in fourth through eighth grades at Saint Michael the Archangel Regional School in Clayton participated in the National Geographic GeoBee, sponsored by the National Geographic Society. Winner Andrew Gomeringer, seated second from left, has taken the test to qualify for the New Jersey state GeoBee. Seated from left: Grace Miedel, Gr. 7; Andrew Gomeringer, Gr. 6; Raylen Weaver, Gr. 6. Standing: Zoe Ekimoglou, Gr. 5; Timothy (T.J) Servis, Gr. 5; Megan Foster, Gr. 8; Cristian Pepe, Gr. 8; Makayla Drainville, Gr. 4; Donovan Dunlap, Gr. 7 and Sadie Hall, Gr. 4.
Miller Shipp of Saint Margaret Regional Catholic School in Woodbury Heights presents a card to Karen Rogers, traffic and weather anchor for Channel 6, ABC Action News Morning, who visited the school that day.

Seamus Crowder and Heather Medolla, second graders at Saint Vincent de Paul School, Mays Landing, learn to eat with chopsticks, make fans and eat fortune cookies while learning about China. Eleven countries were represented as parents and grandparents shared their cultures through food, dance, music, crafts and displays.

Celebrate Catholic Schools Week came to a close on Saturday, Feb. 1. Throughout the Diocese of Camden, schools sponsored open houses; special liturgies and prayer services; academic competitions and showcases; meals for seniors, volunteers and other special people; events to celebrate diverse cultures; activities to foster community spirit; and an onslaught of service projects.

Catholic schools are known for these activities and more throughout the year, so why the need for a concentrated week? For Sister Sheila Murphy, principal at Cape Trinity Catholic School in Wildwood, it’s all about tradition. She remembers the first Catholic Schools Week, 1974. 

“‘Different Where It Counts.’ That was the first tagline and I’ve always loved it. It stayed with me,” said Sister Sheila. She said she thinks about the tagline at the opening Mass every year, a Mass that could not happen outside a Catholic school community, the perfect example of how Catholic schools are different where it counts. According to Sister Sheila, this year’s Mass was particularly special because it was also the conclusion of the parish mission at the school’s primary parish, Notre Dame de la Mer. Turnout from school families was high, and Mass was followed by a parish lunch.

Service is the other element of Catholic Schools Week Sister Sheila cherishes. Like many other schools, Cape Trinity Catholic honors local first responders during the week. Students bring items for gift baskets, which are hand-delivered by families to several police and fire stations. Toiletry bags are also assembled by students and delivered to The Branches, a center in Rio Grande that cares for individuals who are homeless.

“We do some things just for fun, too,” said Sister Sheila, citing the teacher-student volleyball game as a highlight.

For anyone who might have missed the chance to visit during Catholic Schools Week, no worries. The doors to South Jersey Catholic Schools are open for visits, and students are welcome to shadow and discover the difference in a Catholic school education. Find a school near you at www.southjerseycatholicschools.org