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A new year and new possibilities

By MELISSA ENGLERT • Jan 4, 2019 at 4:00 PM

I recently emailed my staff with preparations for heading back to school after Christmas break. The email included a lot of information about dates and scheduling notes.

It occurred to me that a new year brings about so much enthusiasm and a feeling that we have a chance for renewal. So often we become caught up in calendars, meetings, events and the like that we don’t take the time to slow down and evaluate what we have accomplished the previous year. I am extremely proud of my staff and students for all of their hard work and dedication in 2018. I know we are heading in the right direction, but I also recognize there is always room for improvement and fine-tuning of what we do when it comes to the ever-evolving field of education.

As 2019 kicks off, I am excited for numerous extra-curricular activities at Norwalk Catholic elementary.

We will continue our after-school Art Club for students in grades three through six. We have a new club starting that is similar to a Young Authors group, for students to fine-tune their writing skills and publish a collective book of stories. Our robotics team will compete at Kalahari; the student council is planning several exciting events for our students; the weekly Bible study group is making their way through the Old Testament and learning valuable information and students grades four through six will begin to work on Ohio Fair projects, as well as geography fair projects among many other things. There is much more I could write about.

I believe this holistic approach to education sums up our faith-filled learning community. All associated with Norwalk Catholic School, from students to staff to maintenance to cafeteria workers and more, have an innate desire to do the very best we can, while working toward a common goal. I see this hard work and dedication each and every day. We recognize that the success of our students now, often equates to them becoming successful adults, who have learned by example.

In December, the elementary students brought in more than 500 items to donate to the United Fund for the Basket Basics program. These items included anything from deodorant, shampoo, cleaning supplies, paper towels and much more. The service project was important in helping our area citizens, but I feel the most important reason to have done this at school was to teach students about service for others and humility.

In recognizing that our fellow man needs help and to do so, because we are in a position to offer the necessary assistance, brings about for our students the realization of what it means to be human: an offering of empathy and love. As an educational institution, we know the importance of learning the curriculum a school puts forth. However, the added life lessons we teach at Norwalk Catholic School about service, faith and stewardship are what is vital within the world in which we live.

These lessons are what will have a lasting impact on our students’ lives for years to come, as well as the community we have built within our school family: this is what so many remember about their time here.

With the new year upon us, it is yet again another opportunity to take stock in what we do each day and to try to be better than we were the day before. One of my goals in 2019 is to provide more service opportunities for students to continually give them a chance to live out their faith. By completing projects that help others in the community and by connecting with area residents, this is how we will continue to instill stewardship in our student body.

What are your goals for this New Year? I wish you the very best in 2019. Let us bring about a year of more kindness and empathy for those around us, to make our community even better.


Local columnist Melissa Englert is the principal of Norwalk Catholic School’s elementary school.

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