Local Catholic schools scheduled a variety of events beginning this Sunday to help their students and families celebrate Catholic Schools Week.
"Catholic Schools Week is a national thing," said Claire Hatch, principal of Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Belleville. "It's sort of a spirit week, a chance to show off your school and be proud of it. It's also an opportunity for us to show people of the community what we have to offer."
Schools start off the week with a special Mass on Sunday. Then many hold open houses and a variety of activities throughout the week.
"There is a lot of team building and that sort of thing," Hatch said. "I think the students' favorite activity comes on Friday. At the end of the week we have a special Mass and then we have a dance during the day."
Sandy Baechle, principal at St. Mary-St. Augustine Catholic Grade School in Belleville said while she tries to plan some fun things for students, there are also a lot of things planned to help students learn to give to others.
"We have a lot of outreach things going on," Baechle said. "We have a dental hygienist coming in to give a presentation, and then we'll collect toothbrushes and toothpaste for a food pantry. Also, we're going to hold a carnival that will be run by the students to raise money for the food pantry."
One of the fun activities comes on Friday when students will switch classrooms. Students from lower grades will move to a room where children in the higher grades usually are taught.
"It's a fun thing that also gives the students a different perspective," Baechle said. "And it gives them a chance to spend some time with another teacher."
Holy Trinity Catholic School in Fairview Heights will hold an open house from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. St. Clare Catholic School in O'Fallon will hold an open house from 1:30-3 p.m. Sunday. St. John Neumann Catholic School in Maryville will hold an open house from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday.
John Foppe, of Breese, will be speaking from 9-10 a.m. Monday at Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville as part of Catholic Schools Week. Born without arms, John is an inspirational speaker who travels throughout the United States and other countries to motivate others.