We asked eighth-grade students poised to graduate in June from the diocese’s elementary schools to share with us the most important lessons from their Catholic education. Their answers ranged from the practical (“I learned how to dress formally”) to the profound (“God is always there listening.”)
A sampling of their voices reveals a common thread: A determination to apply those lessons in high school and beyond. As one student put it: “God calls all of us to be doers, and not just hearers in the world.”
Royce Acosido, Our Lady of Grace School
Our class may seem like an ordinary class with its different social groups, but we quickly learned that it was not about that. During our first retreat as a class, we were able to bond as a group through God. Over time, we became more connected, and because of that, we became a better community.
Veronica Amavisca, St. Charles School
I have learned to be faithful and trust in God. I have expressed my faith to others, even those who do not believe in Jesus…. I respect and treat others the way that I want to be treated. I was taught to share my light with others.
Alexis Bauers, Our Lady of Grace School
Through my Catholic education, I learned that it is okay to be wrong and if you are, the teachers will help you through the challenge and not judge you. I have also learned bravery, which has (led) me to be more confident and to believe in myself more.
Justin Beck, Our Lady of Grace School
Catholic school has helped me realize the importance of responsibility. I have learned responsibility from making mistakes, such as leaving my Chromebook behind, forgetting to do homework, and not picking up after myself. My teachers have helped me to correct my behavior.
Andy Boeh, St. Didacus School
An important lesson I learned though my Catholic education is that God is always forgiving. No matter what you do, He will always forgive you with His whole heart.
Katelyn Cajigas, Notre Dame Academy
An important lesson I learned through my Catholic faith is that Jesus has an undying love for us. I have learned this through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Gospels, and the people around me. Just as Jesus loves us, I learned to love and forgive others as well.
Leila Chehade, St. John School
An important lesson that I have learned is that in life, there are always going to be people who put you down or have different beliefs than you do, and that is all right. The important part is to always be strong and kind – to lead by example.
Ethan Chesney, St. John School
I have learned through my Catholic education perseverance. Many Bible characters possess this characteristic, including Joseph. He faced much adversity, including imprisonment. However, he kept his faith in God and received His help. I have applied this to my life. I now try to complete my tough projects by staying positive and focused. I will not quit.
Gabriel Cazares, St. Mary’s School
One of the most important lessons I learned is how to dress formally. This teaches us a lot because they don’t let you wear saggy clothes or be untucked. You have to wear the correct uniform because this is what represents our school. Another lesson is that people should always be allowed in, one way or another. No one should be left out. We recently got a (new) student halfway through the year and we already treat him like he’s been here since kinder, like most of us.
Luis Cuevas Arellano, St. Charles School
Jesus loves us all and made us in his perfect image. Many kids our age feel that they are ugly or something else and try to change the way they look. But we have to understand that Jesus loves us all and we are perfect in his image.
Arianne Daw, St. Rita School
Through my Catholic education, I have learned about the importance of Jesus Christ. I’ve learned about how His teachings guide us to be with Him in Heaven. I realized we should follow in His example of service and humility. Jesus, the Son of God, was born in a manger and told us to serve, not be served. It amazes me how someone so powerful could be so humble. I want to continue in life by living in Jesus’s example.
Therese Dixon, Our Lady of Grace School
An important lesson I learned is that our Catholic faith is not separate from our interactions with society. It is not something we only do in our school, but also what we do when we make decisions out in the world. Being witnesses to our faith is important, especially when we see the things that happen in current events. When we see these the issues that happen in the world we can relate them to our faith and then decide what we are going to do about them.
Danica Drab, St. Didacus School
An important lesson I learned through my Catholic education is that nobody is perfect and that everything that happens is for a reason because God has a plan for you and me. I learned that going to Catholic school is a privilege. I get to learn about how God lived his life when everyone was against Him. He stayed truthful to God the whole way. If God can stay true to God in rough times I know that I can too.
Sophia Dubbelde, Notre Dame Academy
Before I attended a Catholic school, I was probably a little selfish. It wasn’t that I hid my toys or refused to split a cookie, but I didn’t share myself in the same way. After seven years surrounded by selfless religious, invested teachers and kindhearted students I have grown to see the light of God present in each of us. I’ve learned to love and share just a little more of it with the world.
Alex Eiguren, St. John School
An important lesson I learned through a Catholic education is that God is always with us, know matter what we are doing or the difficulty of it. God is by our side to guide us through it all.
Belyeziin Farley, St. Rita School
Through my Catholic education I have learned what it is like to be a citizen of the world and that God calls all of us to be doers, and not just hearers of the world.
Lora Therese Frigerio, St. Rita School
Through my Catholic education, I learned that I will forever have someone on my side, God. Friends, teachers, acquaintances, and even family are not forever. But God is. Knowing that there is someone there who will always forgive me, support me, help me, and love me eternally is knowledge that I will constantly treasure.
Natalia Gonzalez, St. Rita School
Through my Catholic education I have learned that God has such a great love for everyone. This is very important to me because this is what got Him to die on the cross and save us. He saved me!
Maeve Hagerty, Our Lady of Grace School
Particularly in my eighth grade, I have come to realize that faith is not always confident, especially in the world that we live in today. At first, I was afraid I was a “bad” Catholic for doubting my faith in God but I have learned through discussions with adults that it is a sign of my wanting to explore my faith to understand it more deeply… When we stop to think about what our core beliefs are, we gain a better understanding than just pretending to agree with all that others tell us for fear of being called not a “true Catholic.”
Sadie Henry, St. Didacus School
An important lesson I have learned from Catholic education is you have to strive to achieve the goals you have. Achievements won’t come easy. Putting in the hard work and giving 110%, you will go somewhere in life.
Carolina Hernandez Equihua, St. Charles School
I have learned how to be a disciple of Jesus. I have learned to accept, and respect others in the ways God made them. St. Charles has done a great job inspiring me to become a member of the Church forever.
Kevin Herrera, Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy
Mr. Patton, my 8th grade science teacher, gave us a real life lesson that touched our hearts. He told us a story about when he was a teen, which made us realize we were taking some things for granted. I work really hard to be at this school. I don’t come from a rich family. I attend because my mom wants me to have the best education, and to behave well and do well in sports.
Lorena Johnson, St. Didacus School
An important lesson I have learned through my Catholic education is how to use our faith throughout everything that we do. Whether it comes to taking a quiz or meeting a new friend, we know how to show our beliefs through our actions and our words.
Raine Latada, St. Rita School
An important lesson that I learned through my Catholic education is that God is the most important part of my life. He gave me my life, my family, my friends, and many life-changing opportunities. God gave me a home, food, water, and clothes, but most importantly, he gave me Jesus, our Savior. … All of the things that I have been taught in my religion classes will always stick to me.
Ashley Luna, St. Charles School
I have learned that we shouldn’t judge people that are poor in the inside and the outside, because we are all equally loved and perfect in the eyes of God. Just like our God, we need to help and love our brothers and sisters.
Amor Y. Lopez, St. Charles School
I’ve learned many things through my Catholic education, but one lesson that has really moved me and helped me feel closer to God is forgiveness. I’ve learned how to forgive others and myself.
Xavier Magat, St. Rita School
One of the many important lessons I have learned through my Catholic education is to love others. To love others is to treat them with sincerity, respect, and kindness. You should be quick to forgive and slow to anger.
Maria Matthews, St. Charles School
Throughout my nine years here at St. Charles, I have learned quite a bit, not only in conventional academics, but also in faith education. I have learned to be a servant for Christ, to be someone who values compassion and loves all people as God’s children. I look forward to continuing to practice my faith in the Church and in my community.
Trey McKamey, St. Didacus School
I have learned in my Catholic education about how much of an impact I can make by being kind. Whenever I do a good deed towards one of my classmates, friends, or teachers, it can brighten their day or make their life just a little bit easier. My acts of kindness also show God that I do care and love for Him.
Payton Norman, Our Lady of Grace School
Throughout my nine years in Catholic education, I have learned one thing more than others –perseverance. My teachers taught me to keep trying even though I may be struggling and to not give up on God. They taught me not only that God reveals Himself slowly, but that He always has a plan and we should not doubt Him.
Ella Nelson, Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy
The most important lesson from my Catholic education is to always put God first (before) everything. In the morning to give thanks to God, in the night before sleeping do that too, before eating. too. I will always remember what our teachers taught us, like to be better people each day.
Jacob Pajimola, St. Didacus
From my Catholic education, I have learned to always be honest. Honesty is an attribute that barely any people at my age have. Honesty is something that must be developed, it can only be developed in an environment filled with comfort and love. At St. Didacus we are always encouraged to tell the truth; the truth is what leaves us at peace with ourselves and our peers.
Leo Pellegrino, Notre Dame Academy
A lesson I learned was to give and not to ask. By not asking, you will grow more independent and self-sufficient. By giving, you will help others striving to better themselves. By giving, you will learn how to become a better person.
Chris Recasner, St. Rita School
I have learned that we are so lucky to go to school and to have an education.
Nina Renda, St. Didacus School
An important lesson that I learned through my Catholic education is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, we, as a Catholic community, will welcome you as you are and take you into our holy family, where we honor and praise God.
Aylene Robles, St. Charles School
The most important lesson from my Catholic education is that no matter what happens, God is always with me. Although we make mistakes or have our faults, we can always turn to God. He always will be there to welcome us with open arms. I have been able to take all my knowledge and take it home. My mom only understands prayers, Masses, and anything that has to do with our faith in Spanish.
Vicente Rodriguez, St. Charles School
God is real, God heals, and God loves.
Francis James O. Sara, St. Rita School
An important lesson that I learned from Catholic education is to live the life that God gave us responsibly, faithfully, and respectfully.
Isaac Savage, St. Didacus School
I learned that it is important to always be honest and never cheat on tests.
Christina Shen, St. Didacus School
I learned to treat everyone with respect and kindness, no matter if I like them or not.
Santiago Soto Brizuela, St. Charles School
I learned that through Christ, anything is possible. I use this knowledge and apply it to my education, sports, and family experiences. I truly believe that if I need something, God will provide on His time, not mine.
Seth Torres, St. Rita School
An important lesson that I have learned through my Catholic education is that it is tough, but it is worth it, because a Catholic education is actually better than public.
Emma Velchek, St. John School
An important lesson I have learned in my Catholic education is that whenever I need to talk to someone, God is always there listening.