Catholic Schools Week, the Afterword

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NWA-OCA 2.1 
February 3, 2017- Memorial of St. Blasé

For me, the week has been filled with a number of different activities celebrating Catholic Schools Week, both as a parent and in founding Ozark Catholic Academy.

I began the week releasing a short video celebrating Catholic Schools Week.  I would like to thank Trolly Line Bookstore for allowing us to film the video inside their store.  As we filmed in the a nook which was categorized as poetry and classics,  I did leave with three books in hand: One Man’s Meat by E.B. White, a hardcover novel by Dr. Samuel Johnson– Detector, and a hardcover of Henry Sienkiewicz’s Quo Vadis.

St. Vincent de Paul, in Rogers, and St. Joseph, in Fayetteville, both had school masses where students in uniform came together and participated in mass in numerous ways. At St. Vincent de Paul, board members had a table with our brochures. As parishioners left mass, they were handed the bookmarks we created for them this week. Many small conversations took place and the bookmarks were well received.

At St. Joseph’s in Fayetteville, they had the school mass at 9:00am followed by an Open House for the school.  I manned a table after the 9:00am and 11:30am mass in the narthex and handed out bookmarks as well.  Fr. Jason Tyler announced at the end of each mass that I was present in the back to answer questions concerning the high school. Parishioners were warm in their comments and thoughts and openly received bookmarks. Probably the most voiced comment from people was that they were glad to hear the high school was happening and have always been interested in having one. I stayed for the beginning of the 1:30pm Mass in Spanish and greeted parishioners as they were entering church.

One conversation with a mother focused on the importance of teachers and how her children’s teachers had really made a difference in their lives. But, she said that something was missing even then—it was not within a Catholic context. Meaning that she thought as good and personal as those teachers were, if their teacher-student relationship had happened within a Catholic school, the possibility of their relationship could have been even more rooted in Christ. She expressed her happiness about a Catholic high school coming, and she hoped her youngest daughter would be able to attend.

In the early afternoon, we published our latest video celebrating Catholic Schools Week.  I hope that if you have not had a chance to view it, you will.

Later this afternoon, the St. Joseph’s and St. Vincent ’s 5th and 6th grade basketball teams are competing against each other. OCA will host a few competitions during halftime. The winners will receive the very first Ozark Catholic Academy t-shirts. We hope to post pictures and short videos on our FB and web pages later this weekend.

Here is a link to my talk on St. Thomas More presented at St. Stephen’s on January 23, 2017.

In celebration of Catholic Schools Week, here is a link to all the images that were created to visually present, “Why a Catholic Education?”

My sincere thanks to Mrs. Katie Harris who has volunteered to help with the videos, audios, and images created for our social media.

Vendors, a Lecture and Office Space

 

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Thomas More Sketch found at University of South Florida

NWA-OCA 1.4
January 27, 2017 – Memorial of St. Angela Merici

Vendors
The typical operations of a start up school continue…building relationships with our bank, Arvest, as well as finding possible vendors such as printers.  I have tried three printers out in the NWA area thus far trying to find not only a good price but also a printer who desires to do business with a start-up, a business that treats us like a long term or larger client.   In future posts I will recognize the printer/s I am choosing to work with, but at this time I am still looking around and seeking recommendations.

Area Charter School
In participating in the NWA Schools Choice Festival, my table was adjacent to NWA Classical Academy table.  I met Ms. Susan Provenza, the headmaster, along with a few of her administrative team members. On Tuesday, I was able to tour their school, and meet with Ms. Provenza to discuss their curriculum and how they are unique to NWA.  I have been getting summaries of the individual schools and all the options here in NWA, but over the next few months I hope to visit traditional public, charter, and private schools in the area to introduce myself, get a snap shot the unique educational opportunities they bring to NWA and begin to build collegial relationships. These relationships with other schools will allow me to better understand how to begin Ozark as strong as possible, understanding the educational community is key as there are many schools, public and private that have recently opened or expanding.  The Northwest Arkansas community is supportive of non-profits and in particular education options, so Ozark Catholic Academy hopes to enter this healthy educational market in a unique position in terms of our Catholicity, character formation, and curriculum.

Office Space
I was officially offered some free temporary office space, which will allow me a place to get work done outside of the house on a day to day basis.  Most of my day is spent driving place to place meeting people, but having a quiet place to follow up with others whether through emails or phones calls is a blessing.

St. Thomas More

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University of Dallas Professor, Gerry Wegemer’s book is great for today’s fathers.

On Monday evening, I gave talk at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Bentonville, entitled, “Thomas More: a Man in the World, rooted in Family.”  The audience was made up of parishioners as well as those from the NWA community.  My purpose was to enrich the audience with the life and ideas of Thomas More and hopefully to inspire them to learn more about him.  I used examples of his upbringing and education, as well as his relationship with his father, Judge John More, Prince Henry (soon to be King Henry VIII), his friendship with Erasmus, but moved into a few details discussing More’s relationship with his wife, Alice, and his children, particularly Margaret, his oldest.  I discussed how More’s goal was to prepare the soul of each child for the reality of life.  We can observe that he lived this understanding in how he guided the family as a whole but also how he interacted in a particular way with each child. Guiding More’s thought was the reality that grace builds upon nature.

 

The reality is the faith never goes without [reason]…[I]f reason is allowed to run wild and grow overly arrogant and proud, she will not fail to fall into rebellion against her master’s faith.  But on the other hand, if she is well brought up and well guided and kept in good temper, she will never disobey faith, being in her right mind.  And therefore let reason be well guided, for surely faith never goes without her. (Thomas More Source Book 278)

More’s end goal was for each child’s soul to enter into heaven, but without self-rule, which was grounded in well-trained reason, a child would not be prepared for life.  With the overwhelming amount of technology and gadgets in our lives today, More’s educational philosophy is even more relevant for ourselves and our children.

Concluding Thoughts

The lecture led me to contemplate ideas for next week’s celebration of Catholic Schools Week.  Look for a week of social media posts (YouTube Video, and our entree into Instagram) giving thoughts to why one should choose Ozark Catholic Academy in NWA when you have so many good choices already. The ground has been tilled and now the seeds are to be planted…

A great place to learn about Thomas More is the Center for Thomas More Studies at the University of Dallas, founded by Gerard Wegemer.

An unbiased plug for my alma mater….the University of Dallas is known as

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