WEIRTON - Area Catholic schools are gearing up to celebrate their religious and educational heritage as part of this year's observance of Catholic Schools Week.
Weirton Madonna High School has several activities scheduled for throughout the week.
"During each day of Catholic Schools Week, we will focus on a saint who has played a role in education," said Jennifer Parker, director of advancement at Weirton Madonna High School.
Students from St. Joseph the Worker Grade School and St. Paul Grade School have been invited to join the high school students for a Mass on Wednesday.
A volleyball tournament among the classes is also being planned with the championship match being played against the teachers, along with several other competitions among the classes.
"We will also feature crazy dress days throughout the week as well as a student appreciation day," Parker said.
Various celebrations also are set across the river in Ohio's Catholic schools.
Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville will visit every Catholic school in the 13 county diocese this week as part of Catholic Schools Week.
Pupils from Bishop John King Mussio Elementary School and the Bishop John King Mussio Central Junior School will join students from Catholic Central High School in the Lanman Hall auditorium at 9:30 a.m. Friday for a Mass celebrated by Monforton.
According to Diocesan Spokesperson Pat DeFrancis, the bishop will travel to the southern point of the diocese to begin his visits to Catholic schools at St. Joseph Central High School and St. Lawrence Central School in Ironton.
"Bishop Monforton will work his way through the diocese and stop in schools in Churchtown, Marietta, Woodsfield, Cambridge, Bellaire and St. Clairsville. He will celebrate Mass with students from St. Mary Central School of St. Clairsville and St. Mary Central School of Martins Ferry at St. March Church in St. Clairsville," said DeFrancis.
"Our Catholic schools are more than an alternative to public schools. Catholic education is an irreplaceable apostolate within our faith. A Catholic school transcends the daily religion class curriculum. Unlike the so called technical and vocational methods of some educational systems, the Catholic school integrates the Catholic faith into the entire curriculum which includes the arts and sciences. The Catholic school has the unique resources of the diocese to do just that," Monforton stated.
Rich Wilinski, principal at Catholic Central High School said activities this week were altered because of the recent weather related delays and cancellations.
"All of our Catholic schools in Jefferson County will be observing the national Catholic Schools Week theme of 'Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service' which is something we practice every day," declared Wilinski.
"We will have several events this week including Ice Cream Sundae Wednesday in the cafeteria during the lunch period. On Thursday we are holding an All School Olympics at 1:30 p.m. in the school gymnasium. It is modeled after the popular Minute to Win It game and will see high school students paired up with junior high school students," related Wilinski.
"We will have the Mass with Bishop Monforton Friday morning and then the bishop will spend the day at the high school and join us for a staff appreciation luncheon," said Wilinski.
"Also on Friday we are giving our teachers the option of allowing a student in their classes to teach for the day. It will give several students a chance to see what school is like from a teacher's point of view," noted Wilinski.
"The important part of Catholic Schools Weeks is to help our students to appreciate the education they receive at Catholic Central High School. We push a strong academic program as well as a strong spiritual background. We want our students to be aware of what we offer at Catholic Central. The spiritual aspect of attending Catholic Central is certainly equal to the academic aspect," Wilinski said.
Theresa Danaher, principal of Bishop John King Mussio Central Junior explained Catholic Schools week will start Monday with Monday Math Madness and a Eucharistic Adoration with the Sisters of the Daughters of the Holy Mary of the Heart of Jesus.
"On Tuesday we will hold out Tuesday Trivia contest. We will also have a Pajama Day where the students can wear their pajamas and bathrobes as well as slippers to relax. We will also view a DVD about the 'Mary's Meals' program. Our student council will decide on a service project to raise funds for the 'Mary's Meals' and we will partner with the Franciscan University of Steubenville for a fund raising effort," according to Danaher.
"Student appreciation day is set for Wednesday and that will include a blue and gold dress down day as well as a school bowling trip to Steel Valley Lanes in Weirton," noted Danaher.
"On Thursday we will have our annual ornament judging for the art classes. Each year the art students deign a special Christmas ornament. We judge those entries and decide on one ornament that we will sell during the next Christmas season to raise funds for the school. Also on Thursday we will participate with the high school in the all school Olympics and will host a staff and teacher appreciation luncheon," said Danaher.
"Faith filled Friday will see us join the Catholic Central High School students and the Bishop John King Mussio elementary pupils at the Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Monforton. Then at 12:30 P.M. that day we will hold our annual Tournament of Truth in Lanman Hall. Several of our students will also be volunteering to at the Holy Name Cathedral soup kitchen," said Danaher.
"Catholic Schools Week is a great time to focus on what we value and what our Catholic schools offer us. We look forward to this week every year," Danaher said.
Pupils at Bishop John King Mussio Elementary School will start Catholic Schools week with a pajama day on Monday.
Principal Katherine Rufer said pupils, faculty and staff will all have the chance to dress up in their favorite pajamas.
"We will also be participating in a community service project for the Jefferson County Community Action Council St. Anthony's Head Start school," said Rufer.
"On Tuesday we will be having a luau and will have Steubenville Police Officer Erik Dervis talking about 'Stranger Danger', 'seat belt awareness' and 'social media. We will have have three different presentations from Oglebay Park that day," explained Ruff.
"We plan on having vocation parties on Wednesday and will have religious sisters visiting the school to discuss their vocations. We will also be having sundaes with the sisters," noted Rufer.
"On Thursday we will celebrate our nation with the pupils dressing in red, white and blue. We will also make patriotic decorations for the school gymnasium and will fill out thank you cards to send to the military forces," Rufer said.
"Our Catholic Schools Week will conclude Friday when we walk to Catholic Central High School for the Mass with Bishop Monforton. Our staff will be bringing their baby photos to school and we will be challenging the pupils to match the baby photo with the teachers. Then we will host a faculty and staff appreciation luncheon followed by a pep rally in the gymnasium. It will be spirit day on Friday and we will have a lot of fun," said Rufer.
(Craig Howell contributed to the story.)
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)