By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT —All Saints Catholic School has been chosen to represent the state of Iowa during National School Choice Week Jan. 24-30. The virtual celebration will include a video interview with student Eric Hayes.
Principal Jeanne Von Feldt said, “I was absolutely thrilled that All Saints could represent the state of Iowa.” National School Choice Week takes place the week before Catholic Schools Week.
Trish Wilger, executive director of Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education and Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education (Iowa ACE), said when she needs a nonpublic school for a project or event, she tries to spread out the selection to different types of nonpublic schools. “There are 142 accredited, nonpublic schools in Iowa. It was time for an eastern Iowa school,” she said.
“I have been aware of the success of All Saints for several years — the diversity of the student body is impressive, and it continues to grow. Iowa ACE is launching a Latino parent advocacy organization in 2021, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to highlight All Saints and the diversity found in Iowa nonpublic schools.”
Supporters of National School Choice Week usually celebrate with in-person events throughout the country in numerous ways, Wilger said. “Because of the pandemic, it will be all virtual in 2021. As part of that, NSCW is creating a video roll call of all states. The 15- to 20-second videos of student representatives from each state will be pieced together into one large video celebrating choice throughout the country.”
NSCW provided a list of several ideas for the students to speak on such as where they go to school, what they like about their school, favorite subject, plans for the future and how a choice in education benefited them.
The video was to be shot outdoors and show something significant about the state or a landmark. Wilger and Von Feldt selected something different from the usual cornfield shot. They filmed the video from a high point in Davenport that overlooks the Mississippi River and has the Centennial Bridge in the background.
Von Feldt chose eighth-grader Eric Hayes to represent All Saints. “I knew I wanted an eighth-grader and I could have chosen any one of many students. Eric is a very good student here at our school and attends Assumption High School for algebra. He has been here since preschool. He loves to play soccer and basketball.”
Eric told his principal that he had reservations about doing the video, “but I didn’t want to disappoint you, Mrs. Von Feldt, so I said yes. After this experience I have so much more confidence in myself as I really didn’t think I could do anything like this and now I know I can. I also feel that All Saints has and still is preparing me for high school. This really has been a great honor for me and All Saints.”
“I’m very proud of Eric, All Saints Catholic School and the students, parents and staff,” Von Feldt added. “We are happy to be a part of honoring an accomplished student like Eric,” Wilger said.