SOMERS POINT — The excitement of kids is hard to miss. Students at St. Joseph Regional School were all trying to get a closer look at Egg Harbor Township Police Dept. K9 DIBO Monday morning at the annual breakfast for community heroes. The event was held as part of Catholic Schools Week.

The weeklong celebration is an opportunity to open the doors and let the community hear and experience some of the wonderful and dynamic things that are going on at St. Joe’s, according to teacher Sylvia McFadden.

“We have so many people in our community who keep our families and our school safe and who give their time and their talents to make where we are a great place to live as well as to learn (about) our police, firefighters, health care workers, EMT’s, first responders and our librarians,” McFadden said. “Our students wanted to let these community heroes know how important they are, so we put together a day and invited them here to share some cookies and some friendship.”

Other events for Catholic Schools Week at St. Joe's included a visit from the Franklin Institute’s traveling science show that was part of student appreciation day. There was a day to honor teachers, volunteers and grandparents, a schoolwide Mass with the Rev. Jaromir and an open house during which tours were offered for current families as well as families interested in enrolling in the school.

Principal Janice Fipp said Catholic schools work and are a strong option for students and their families and are viable in today’s education system. The Somers Point Catholic school educates more than 350 students in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. It draws from Atlantic and Cape May counties.

Fipp indicated that Catholics find benefits to attending Catholic School as the merging of religious instruction, preparation for the sacraments and competitive academic instruction all in one place. According to information from the Camden Diocese, more non-Catholics are choosing Catholic Schools as an alternative to public school education. Some come for a strong family-like atmosphere, others for traditional academic rigor and the private school feel. Fipp said the school is led by veteran teachers and staff, and they deliver a quality education and provide students building blocks to carry forward in all aspects of their lives.

President of the St. Joseph board, Joe Johnston, of Somers Point, has two children attending the school. He called St. Joe’s a bright light that provides an exceptional educational experience, one that is moral, spiritual and of the highest academic quality.

Asked if she thought Catholic education was still a good option for families, third-grade teacher McFadden said “Maybe it is more important than ever. We are at a time when many students and families are looking for answers and struggling. Our school is this wonderful and enriching place. Our teachers and staff deliver curriculum which includes God’s message throughout. It is a message that reminds us that God is present and active in our daily lives.

For more information about St. Joseph Regional School, see sjrs.org.

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