It's quite rare to have both Lutheran and Catholic schools acknowledge their respective celebratory weeks at the same time, however, that's how 2013 is playing out.
Holy Family Catholic School is celebrating Catholic Schools Week while St.John's Lutheran School is having its celebration at the same time. Both schools have many events planned and played out throughout the week.
Thursday students at Holy Family boasted their Catholic Schools weeks T-shirts. The design is created by students every year and then they vote for their favorite design. Funeral home owner, Jim O'Donnell, then pays to have shirts made, with the winning design, for the whole school. Eighth-grader Rachel Nemes was this year's winner.
O'Donnell explained why he pays for the entire school's T-shirts.
"Just appreciation for what Catholic schools mean in our community. And being a graduate of Holy Family, just really appreciate that, and any way we can kind of give back a little bit. It's been a great opportunity and just want to be a part of it," he said.
O'Donnell also talked about why a celebratory week of Catholic schools and Catholic education is important.
"Well it means to me really taking a moment to reflect on the special things that Catholic education really does bring to our community and the values that it instills in our youth. It causes me to look back and be very grateful for those teachers, and clergy, and nuns that I've had over the years and reflect on the things I've learned and things they've contributed in my life," he said. "It is a unique experience and good experience, and I think makes for a well-rounded individual. And hopefully continues to bring in individuals that make meaningful contributions to our community."
Just a few blocks away, St. John's Lutheran School celebrates Lutheran schools week.
Thursday afternoon students were rehearsing for the talent show which took place Thursday night.
"The students here learn to embrace their gifts and take them with them. They grow in that gift, they learn to do their performing outside of themselves," St. John's principal Matt Koenig said. "It's not an interior thing, it's not what only they can give back to the community, give back to their Lord, but also just to show everybody else what they can do as well."
Rehearsal was far from formal for the students going through their performances. It was also pajama day, so a few acts were completed in robes and nightgowns.
Koenig explained the model for students this year and the purpose of religious education no matter the faith.
"The whole model of this year is Shine Like Stars. Their shining like stars in their abilities here (at the talent show rehearsal), they're shining like stars outside of the school in what they do and they're like stars in the school as they do different things. It's a great week to celebrate being Lutheran, it's a great week to celebrate them shining outside themselves," Koenig said. "Religious education is so important because you learn about the salvation of Jesus, but also they get individualized education too. Our student-teacher ratio here at the upper grades is like 8 or 10 to 1 which is great because the individualized education happens so great and so well. And we have very well-trained teachers who are dedicated to their profession."