John F. Kennedy offers students ‘Dividends for Life’

The essay's authors pose.

By Kate Friederichs, Sarah Gorzney and Erica Peterson

“The Catholic school forms part of the saving mission of the Church, especially for education of the faith” (The Catholic Schools, 1977, #9). A school with such togetherness and faith is a wonderful environment for students to grow and learn.

As Catholic school students for our whole lives, we believe that Catholic school education not only helps you grow in faith, but also in knowledge, morals and self-discipline. In the current academic school year, there are over 2 million students receiving the benefits of a Catholic school education. Through successful programs and experiences, Catholic school education provides students with “Dividends for Life.”

Faith is what sets Catholic schools apart from other educational environments. As a Catholic school community, students have the opportunity to attend and actively participate in Mass during the school week. Going to Mass unifies our school and allows us to celebrate the wonders of Christ’s presence.

Not only do we experience our faith through Mass, but we also experience it through our regular school life. Praying every day before and after lunch and during religion classes allows students to have a close relationship with God. Every week students also have the opportunity to read and discuss sacred Scripture. Our regular classes incorporate faith and provide us with the constant reminder that God is always in our lives.  Through our everyday activities in a Catholic school, we have the opportunity to walk our faith journey with the support of our teachers, family and friends, receiving the sacraments as we grow. In a Catholic school, we are reminded that God is always there, and we know he is proud of us.


Knowledge is a key aspect in Catholic schools. Students work hard to achieve high academic goals. In Catholic schools, all students are considered “talented and gifted.”  Everyone has the opportunity to participate in activities such as mock trial, science fair, newspaper staff, civic oration, spelling and math bees, plays and musical performances. Students are taught from an early age to use their skills and knowledge to help others gain knowledge. Teachers spend one-on- one time with students, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and receive homework help. Strong academics bring out the best in students and make them try to learn more.

By attending a Catholic school, we not only get knowledge through our academics, but we are also exposed to high moral standards of right and wrong. We use Gospel values such as courtesy, kindness and honesty to guide us through our actions. As a student body, we show our manners toward each other and our teachers. When we are faced with tough times and hard decisions, we use our conscience and faith to keep us on track.

As Catholic school students, we learn to be self-disciplined. When we are involved in extra after-school activities, students are still responsible for homework and projects. We are also held accountable for our actions during and after school. We have a strong sense of respect for other students, teachers, parents and staff. Teamwork is not just talked about, it is shown. Students work together to help each other learn and communicate and discuss topics. With high expectations, we use self-discipline to guide us.

The choice of attending a Catholic school will stay with you forever and guide you on the right paths through life. Through faith, students know how to treat one another and love one another through Christ. To acquire knowledge, teachers push students to their highest potential and help prepare them for the future. Morals help students make good choices by following the Gospel values. Catholic school discipline is taught through responsibility, respect and teamwork. Catholic schools provide unique skills and opportunities that are necessary for life. We will never forget our Catholic school education because of the wonderful people we’ve met, the outstanding skills we’ve learned, and the dividends we’ve received for life.

(Kate Friederichs, Sarah Gorzney and Erica Peterson are eighth-graders at JFK.)

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