Bradenton | When the 2019-2020 academic year began for the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Venice in August 2019, the joy and the anticipation could be seen on the faces of incoming students as well as the teachers and faculty welcoming students back to school.
Fast forward to the end of May 2020 and faces from everyone were the same, if only hidden by facemasks or viewed from afar as everyone ensured proper social distancing.
Diocese Catholic Schools are rooted in Faith and it was that Faith which helped turn a school year that was disrupted in ways like never before into one of unity and celebration.
Distance learning kept students and teachers physically apart but the learning process continued and thrived. Whether it was mathematics, language arts, science or art the thirst for knowledge from the young minds overcame the many distractions, obstacles and frustrations faced while being forced to learn through an electronic device.
This happened thanks in no small part to the passion that each teacher offered, imparting knowledge under difficult circumstances. The final layer of support which made the 2019-2020 school years success possible was primarily behind-the-scenes from dedicated faculty.
As is at the end of any school year, Diocesan Catholic schools held celebrations to mark the occasion. While big assemblies were out of the question, leave it to educators to figure a way to make sure the last day was special.
At St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers, an eighth-grade graduation parade a week earlier inspired the school to have a drive-thru farewell. The parade had the teachers and faculty in the parking lot while the vehicles with the students and their parents slowly worker their way through the parking lot. Many of the vehicles were decorated for the occasion offering well-wishes and prayers for a heathy and safe summer and a return to school in August.
“We are excited to thank all of our families for everything they have done for us all year,” said John Gulley, St. Francis Xavier principal. “We are looking forward to seeing you all next year.”
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota created a faculty farewell video. Two teachers at St. Martha Catholic School, who were known for sharing their favorite recipes while distance learning offered tips for quick, healthy and refreshing summer snacks.
The end of the school year for pre-K-3 and pre-K-4 students at St. Ann Catholic School included a visit to the Naples school. The students were each given gift bags of goodies including a bucket and shovel to use at the beach. The teachers, wearing masks, held up a colorful sign which proclaimed: “We love our pre-K students! Have a great summer!”
These are just a few of the examples of last day fun at the Diocesan Catholic schools. To learn more about Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools, visit www.dioceseofvenice.org.