Nick Fuierer
Nick Fuierer

As I approach the end of my middle school years, I have nothing but gratitude for the Catholic education I have been blessed to receive. 

It has provided me with a solid academic and spiritual foundation that will guide me throughout my life. I have been going to a Catholic school for nine years, receiving an opportunity that I know is a gift and one I would not have changed. Being at St. Pius X for most of my life has given me the opportunity to build a strong Christian foundation. My school has offered me the chance to deepen my faith through the activities that it offers. Staying in this school up until eighth grade, especially during my middle school years, has helped me to deepen my understanding of what my religion means to me and the people around me. 

Catholic education affords us unique opportunities outside the classroom. One of these opportunities that my school has given me is a retreat to Pyramid Life Center, a Diocesan-run camp on Pyramid Lake in the Adirondacks. This retreat provided both a fun and spiritual experience involving meditation, prayer and cooperation for me and my classmates. It helped our class become more open and familiar with one another, in a natural and beautiful environment while strengthening our faith. 

Every other day, if we do not have a project or assignment, my religion class goes to the church or the chapel for a 9 a.m. Mass. This Mass not only helps me to get closer to God, but it also gives me more experience for future Masses. With each Mass, my classmates and I can experience our faith and the impact it has on our lives. The Mass usually takes about 30 minutes, just enough time to get back for our next class. After this Mass, there is a sort of peacefulness to everyone that helps us through the morning. 

Likewise, during Lent, the entire school goes to the church every Friday for Stations of the Cross. Most of the students in the upper wing are asked to participate in writing reflections connecting their own lives to the station that they were assigned to. As an eighth-grader, I wrote a reflection for Station 9 and read a reflection for Station 11. I also played the piano for the song, “Jesus, remember me,” which is sung after every reflection is read. Stations of the Cross gives me and the entire school the opportunity to experience Jesus’ crucifixion, share our talents, and to understand how it can relate to our lives. 

Finally, as I approach the end of my eighth-grade year, I look forward to going to our retreat at the Auriesville Shrine and the opportunity to reflect on my ­academic and spiritual growth throughout the year. As we travel the steps of St. Isaac Jogues along the ravine at Auriesville with Father (Jim) Walsh, our Pastor guiding us, I will be reminded of the difficult challenges that me and my classmates have faced in our middle school years and the ones we have yet to face, like our transitions to new schools. However, as scary as the thought of high school can be, I and the many kids who have had the opportunity of Catholic education know that we have a strength guiding us that others may not share, our faith, and for that, I am grateful.

Nick Fuierer is an eighth-grader at St. Pius X School in Loudon­ville. He is a high-honors student, was voted co-Vice President of his class, and excels in soccer.