Connor Barber (Photo provided)
Connor Barber (Photo provided)

I have been going to Catholic school for as long as I can remember. I began my education in pre-school at St. Helen’s School, which is now St. Kateri School. I finished my elementary career there and soon graduated. I began sixth grade at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School. Now, I am a senior there and will soon graduate. It seems as if only yesterday I was a small sixth grader coming into a big new school. Now, with many memories made and lessons learned, I am moving on and going to college.

Having a Catholic education made all the difference throughout my journey. Not only did I grow in faith and learn about my religion, but I made true lifelong friends. When you go to a small Catholic school, there is an immediate sense of community. Just about everyone knows all of their peers and teachers. Whether it’s walking down the hall and exchanging a smile with a sixth grader, or laughing with your teachers after a difficult lesson, you always feel welcomed.

You feel almost protected, and have a feeling of kindness overwhelming you throughout the school year. This may sound cliché but I assure you there is nothing closer to the truth. The teachers throughout my journey worked to form a relationship with each of their students. They truly care about the success of each individual and use all the necessary tools to ensure positive results. The staff is always working to make sure you feel at home, constantly showing school spirit. At a small Catholic school, the students are one family. Everyone watches out for each other and ensures that everyone feels as if they are one, rather than excluded and lonely.

Another great thing about Catholic education is the faith-based learning. Whether you are in a difficult calculus class, or an art elective, prayer is always present. The staff and teachers make sure that if there are any intentions needed or special prayers to be said, that they are heard by the students. The faculty wants to make sure you know you are not alone in your struggles. You have a family at school that you can turn to at any point.

This was one of the greatest parts of my experiences. Catho­lic education has not only set me up for academic success in the future, but success in life. I have learned what it means to care, show love and work to understand others. Catholic schools are truly amazing and give everyone involved a new sense of love, hope and family.

Connor Barber is a graduating senior at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School.