Catholic schools are different than all other schools. Not only do Catholic schools provide outstanding academics, competitive athletics, and a tremendous variety of extracurricular opportunities, Catholic schools take the extra step in ensuring that every child under their care is surrounded by both visible and invisible reminders that s/he is cherished and loved.
As part of this important formation piece, students at St. Thomas Aquinas take Theology classes. It is a time where all students (regardless of their individual faith denominations) learn about world religions, delve into philosophical questions, and overturn historical truths and untruths about the Catholic faith. Our Theology teachers are at once both brilliant and perceptive. Getting adolescents to converse about God in an accessible, comfortable, inclusive way is not easy. We are proud of our STA faculty for finding just the right ways to reach young people in a way that makes them want to learn more about faith while simultaneously expressing concerns or confusion.
This week, in their "Introduction to Catholicism” course, the freshmen wrapped up their midterm projects. They spent time presenting portfolios they have created that include images that relate to concepts studied in class. Here are some of their reflections:
Concept: The Passion: “I chose a candle because, to me, it represents Jesus’ fire that burned within our world for 33 years. During the Passion of the Christ, the candle began to fade.
Concept: The Incarnation: “I chose a photograph of a cute dog. Yes, a cute dog. Dogs follow people around because they want to be like us. God wanted to become one of us. Being like someone who is good and virtuous and holy can strengthen us and make us better people.”
Concept: The sponge that carried wine to Jesus’ lips: “I chose a sponge. No matter how much a sponge is submerged, it always rises back up to the surface.”
Concept: Resurrection: “I chose an image of my grandfather. After fighting bouts of sepsis, he is no longer the strong Marine I once knew. Jesus bore unbearable pain but rose up time after time. My grandfather is like that, too; he is my hero.”
It is dialogues and conversations like these that, when one walks around St. Thomas Aquinas, reminds one that Catholic schools are simply unlike any other school. Not better, but distinct. Caring, careful, and care-filled.
STA is a place where education begins on the inside and the result makes a world of difference.