Catholic school students returned to their classrooms across the Diocese on August 30, prepared for another successful school year of faith-filled and academically challenging instruction.
The hallways of 36 schools in Schuylkill, Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon and Berks counties were alive with the sounds of students getting settled in, and of teachers getting to know their students and beginning lessons.
At St. John Vianney Regional School in Allentown, school staff and students welcomed 50 new students who attended Sacred Heart School in Allentown last year. The newly blended school community was represented at a Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena Mass with Bishop Alfred Schlert and the four priests from sponsoring parishes that support the regional school.
St. Jerome Regional School in Tamaqua opened its doors to its 100th school year with visits from both state and local officials to mark the special occasion. When it was founded in 1921, the school served just one parish. It now has students from Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties.
The Diocese’s three special learning centers located in Berks, Lehigh, and Schuylkill counties continue to thrive with an increase in enrollment in educational day programs and with an additional 50 adults served by programs for the intellectual and developmentally disabled.
Seven diocesan high schools welcomed 676 new freshmen with orientation and family events. Returning seniors served as mentors and tour guides to the newly enrolled.
In this Year of the Real Presence in the Diocese of Allentown, the priority is on everyone being fully present in the classroom, and on the important role of teachers in modeling Christ in their relationships with students. Bishop Schlert said to the teachers from Kolbe Academy, “Before your students sit in front of the Tabernacle, they are sitting in front of you.”
While all schools in the Diocese returned to the classroom with masks required inside buildings due to the highly contagious Delta variant of the Coronavirus, plenty of smiles were seen on students delighted to be together once again with their teachers and friends.
It should be an exciting year as diocesan schools once again prepare students to meet the challenges of the future by illuminating their hearts and educating their minds to become both saints and scholars.