After greeting students as they stepped off of school buses on Main Street in Buffalo Wednesday, Bishop Richard J. Malone went inside and joined some of them in a drum session on the first day of classes at St. Joseph University School.
"It's just a wonderful way for me to start the school year,"
said Bishop Malone. "We like to say Catholic schools are different where it
counts. Our Catholic schools are communities of faith, learning and service."
Bishop Malone led the opening prayer over the school's
public address system and reminded the students to be grateful. "It's a
commitment on the part of parents, so I'll ask the students when they go home
today to thank their parents for sending them to St. Joseph School and to
appreciate every single dimension of the school. Every day, they'll learn about
Jesus in addition to math and science and all those things."
There are about 185 students in grades pre-K through eight
at the school, which, like the St. Joseph University Parish, is diverse and
puts strong emphasis on music, according to Principal Mark Mattle. "Our music
program is incredible. The church is big on music, so we kind of reflect that
philosophy that the church has. We're really big in music and art and drama.
The teachers get together and write a play every year and it involves music and
drama and aspects from all of the disciplines."
While most of the 34 Catholic elementary schools in the
Diocese of Buffalo opened on Tuesday, St. Joseph University School was among
those opening on Wednesday. "The kids are excited. The teachers are excited," said
Sister Carol Cimino, SSJ, superintendent of Catholic schools. "We're faith based
and that separates us from other schools. We have teachers who really see this
as a calling and a vocation and we have parents who put their kids in our
Catholic schools because they are faith based. So, we're going to start today
with a prayer and that sets us aside every single day."
This year, St. Joseph University School will be increasing
its focus on the STREAM program, which has caught the attention of other
Catholic schools across the nation for the way it integrates the arts and religion
into many aspects of science, technology, engineering and math.
The school is located next to the University at Buffalo's
Main Street campus. "When you think of all that's going on in the world right
now that's so discouraging, our students will be learning how to make a
difference and bring hope and joy where it lacks right now," said Bishop
Malone. "Our schools are happy communities, even though some of the children,
as in all schools, come from difficult home situations. We make a point to help
the children learn the reason for what Pope Francis calls the joy of the Gospel
and if you know Jesus, no matter what's going on, there should be joy."
For more information visit: https://www.wnycatholicschools.org/