Knowledge, Faith, and Service
Incorporated into the Good Shepherd School Seal are three words: knowledge, faith, and service. These are the three pillars upon which our school is built. Helping our students grow and develop in these three key areas continues to be the greatest part of our mission.
The knowledge portion we see on a daily basis. Each day as parents, we ask our children, “What did you learn today?”. We check backpacks for returned assignments. We help our children with their homework and studies. Our educators strive to instill the knowledge in our students that they need to be prepared for all that is to come both in their schooling and future careers.
Our students live their faith every day at our school. In our faith-filled environment our students begin and end the day with a prayer, remembering those special intentions that they hold close to their hearts. Our students have daily religion classes that focus on furthering their understanding of the Catholic faith. They enjoy celebrating masses, prayer services, and regular classroom visits by our parish priests.
As a school, we continue to grow the “service” element of our mission. Our students are blessed to have the opportunity to brighten the days of others throughout the school year. In the past two years, Good Shepherd School teachers have begun two new service initiatives: Missions Club and Paying It Forward Club. I am so blessed to work in an environment where our faculty, parents, and students are constantly asking what they can do to better serve others.
Our Missions Club has already raised over $1,000 this year for charitable organizations, such as the Childhood Missionary Association, by coordinating dress down day donations. They include the entire school in their efforts to find ways to ease the hardships of the less fortunate.
Our Paying It Forward Club recently held a drive to collect supplies (such as diapers and feeding items) for the Interfaith Homeless Shelter. Our students were particularly moved by the realization that many of the items being requested are items for young children and infants. We are blessed that our big-hearted students, parents, and faculty have rallied to help collect materials to support this cause. Ms. Downey, the club’s sponsor, reports that students far surpassed their goals for the collection.
Supporting the Home-Bound in Our Parish
For many years, Good Shepherd School students have made cards throughout the year for home-bound parishioners. We hear back regularly from these parishioners as to how much they appreciate the kind well-wishes and prayers from our students. Recently, at Mass, I was approached by a parishioner who let me know how touched she was when she received cards and prayers from one of our classes while she was battling a long illness. She said she enjoyed reading and re-reading the cards and believes that the prayers of our students helped to aid in her recovery. Our students are really making a positive impact in their community.
Hands on Service Opportunities
In December, our 7th and 8th grade classes made trips to New Hope Ministries, a local charitable organization that helps provide meals, job training, and other support to families and individuals in need. Our students delivered nonperishable goods donated by our generous families. They helped to sort items in the New Hope warehouse for distribution to visitors to their food pantry. Our students were particularly struck by the realization that there are a large number of people in our area who are in need and who rely on New Hope Ministries and other charitable organizations to provide for them. I am so proud of our 7th and 8th grade students for how hard they worked and for the smiles on their faces as they lent a hand to help others. Later this year, we hope to get our 6th grade students off campus to help with a project with New Hope Ministries as well.
I’m very happy to announce that we have recently rekindled our partnership with Geisinger Holy Spirit. In December, our 4th graders visited the hospital and sang in a musical celebration with hospital staff members, celebrated Mass in the hospital chapel, and enjoyed lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Later this school year, our 7th and 8th grade students will take a tour of the Geisinger Holy Spirit Emergency Department and Trauma Center. We will also have health providers visit our 5th grade class to talk about various body systems to complement their science curriculum.
Service is implemented across our curriculum in a variety of ways. Middle schooler students create ceramic bowls that are given to the Central PA Food Bank for their annual Soup and Bowl event. Each bowl donated is worth $25 of food for someone in need in our community. On a smaller scale, the 6th Grade “Big Buddies” create mangers for their Kindergarten “Little Buddies.” These mangers are used to take home the kindergarteners’ Baby Jesus sculptures that are used as learning tools in the weeks leading to Jesus’ birthday.
Parents Setting an Example
Good Shepherd School parents set a great example for their children through the countless hours of service they give back to the school. Whether it is helping throughout the year as a room parent, volunteering for lunch and recess duty, chaperoning field trips, assisting with special events, attending school Masses, or helping collect materials for food and clothing drives, our parents help out in so many ways. I am encouraged by the number of parents who take the time to obtain the necessary clearances they need in order to help with our students. If you have not had a chance to volunteer this year, I encourage you to get involved. It is truly rewarding in so many ways.
Stay tuned for more updates as the year goes on regarding service projects at Good Shepherd School. I’m so pleased to be a part of a school and parish community that does so much to show its love and support for others.
Wishing you a blessed 2019,
Stephen M. Fry, Ed. D