(Note: Each year St. Clement’s School uses a focus theme to guide the students through the school year. The theme for 2019-20 was “Shine, Jesus, Shine.” The fifth graders were asked to write an essay about what the theme means. Students were then selected to read their essays at graduation.)

I have been a student of St. Clement’s School for seven years. I started in Mrs. McFadden’s pre-K class when I was about 5 years old. This is where I first learned the term “Child of God.”  I began to understand that it was my job to be kind to those around me. I also learned it was the job of those around me to be kind to me because we should all live by Jesus’ example to care for one another. In pre-k this meant taking turns, sharing toys and playing nicely with everyone on the playground. In kindergarten, Mrs. Molteni taught me about respecting “God’s creatures.” I began to look at all living things differently. I no longer wanted to squish ants just because I could. I began to understand that even the tiniest ant should be respected as it had been created by God, just as I had.

As I grew up at St. Clement’s these past years, I have had many teachers help me understand how to live in the light of Jesus. They have taught me that Jesus’ light is always part of me and in all those around me. I believe we should never hide the light of Jesus. We can all shine brightly by reflecting the love and respect Jesus has for all living things. We can also stay in the light of Jesus and continue to spread His word by serving our community and helping others in need. I am thankful I have had religion as part of my education at St. Clement’s School because it has helped me grow as a Child of God.

Keegan Reynolds is a fifth-grade graduate of St. Clement’s School in Saratoga Springs.