“Streaming the light of Christ upon our 21st century footprints” means a lot of celebrating but also includes significant education for staff and students alike. How do we stream Christ’s light? What are our 21st century skills? What “footprint” are we making?
For the members of the Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division #140, this annual theme has taken us on a faith-filled and enthusiastic journey. This has been an opportunity to broaden our understanding of the light of Christ that is within each of us and recognize how we can share the light with others.
Each year Holy Family schools host a number of events to celebrate the liturgical seasons of our faith. Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter gatherings are obvious ways for us to demonstrate how our children are growing in faith. Students lead the music, share the readings and sometimes even perform a dramatic representation of Scripture. The energy and joy that is so evident during these times reminds us that we are indeed celebrating the story of our Lord in whatever way suits us best. We embrace the story and make it our own. We are the hands and feet that God calls to build God’s kingdom. In Holy Family, we strive to do it with grace and happiness.
Beyond the “routine” celebrations, many more opportunities exist to give the light of Christ that is within each of us a good workout. Family reading nights, student-led conferences to discuss progress reports, and extra-curricular performances are more ways in which we can allow our students to shine and put a spotlight on their great efforts. So many students grow quickly in their knowledge, skills and understanding while passing through the grades of our buildings. To be able to pause and say, “well done” or “way to go” is shining the light of Christ in the perfect direction.
As we continue this journey called Catholic education, we are choosing to intensify the spotlight on the 21st-century skills and competencies that we believe our young citizens need to develop to be successful and engaged in the future. Creative thinking, collaboration, and creativity are just a few areas where we have begun to help our learners understand their character and abilities. We, as educational leaders, are on a journey ourselves when it comes to knowing this focus. We consider these “soft skills” a way for our students to learn more deeply harnessing both the physical environment around them and leveraging the digital world that is ever-evolving. Holy Family encourages them to build deep and lasting relationships that are respectful and fulfilling. We celebrate their innovative spirit — a true manifestation of the Holy Spirit at work within them.
As always, Holy Family staff and students alike make their best effort to consider the stewardship of gifts, talents and environment. In his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us of our call to care for the environment and one another. That is exactly how Holy Family promotes attention on the “footprint” that we are leaving. We suggest that our citizens walk gently upon this path that God has set before us. We don’t want to stomp around and leave deep impressions that damage relationships or surroundings. We want to walk along with or beside those we love and care about. We want our “impression” on all we touch to build confidence and trust enhancing the kingdom of God.
Celebrating the annual theme this year has been both a challenge and reward. We always have and always will believe that the children are at the heart of what we do and therefore have forever strived to celebrate success and achievements. Shining Christ’s light into areas we don’t usually focus upon has challenged us to find new ways to share. Taking a closer look at 21st-century skills has rewarded us all with a continued guidepost for our journey. May our families and staff always be blessed in their commitment to growth and celebration in the light of Christ.
Colquhoun is the religion/curriculum co-ordinator for Holy Family Roman Catholic School Division.