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A Letter From OCS CEO, Tracy Conkright

National Catholic Schools Week started in 1974 and is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts this Sunday and runs all next week, January 28 – February 3. The theme for this year is “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community.” During this week, schools will observe the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses, and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our church, our communities, and our nation.

On Sunday, we celebrate our pastors and parish communities.  Our schools benefit all year long from the religious guidance, prayers, and support our fifteen parishes provide. This week, each of our schools will devote a Mass to Catholic education. We are blessed to have such a wonderful community that is so supportive of our Catholic Schools. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to provide outstanding academic programs, religious education, and service opportunities to our students.

Monday, we celebrate our parents, guardians, and other family members who play a vital role in Catholic education. Not only do they volunteer at the school, but they also instill values and expectations for academic excellence in their children at home. We acknowledge the role of families in Catholic education and celebrate their contributions to the success of our schools.

On Tuesday, we celebrate our students by planning enjoyable and meaningful activities for them and recognizing their accomplishments. On this day, students are encouraged to reflect on the benefits of Catholic education and how the grounding in faith, knowledge, and service will help them throughout their lives. We are so very thankful for our students and the gifts they bring to our schools.

Wednesday, we celebrate vocations.  By focusing on faith, knowledge, and service, Catholic schools prepare children to use their God-given talents to the fullest later in life. National Catholic Schools Week offers an opportunity for students to explore the many life paths that enable them to use their talents well in the service of God and others.

 On Thursday, we honor our teachers, as well as administrators and staff who support teachers in their important work, and thank the parents, grandparents, alumni, parishioners, and school council members who provide volunteer service. These dedicated men and women are the backbone of our schools.  We thank them for the countless hours and care they give to educate our students. 

Friday, we celebrate our amazing school system and all the many gifts and talents that contribute to its success.  Each day, we work together as a team to share God’s love to all. 

So, as we begin Catholic Schools Week 2024, let us be grateful for all those who make OCS such a success.  Your contributions, no matter how great or small, do not go unnoticed. 

May God bless you,

Tracy S. Conkright

OCS Chief Education Officer