By Mark Salisbury, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Marquette
Faith, resiliency, perseverance, hard work, creativity, teamwork, family, and community. These are some of the words that come to mind regarding the extraordinary last three months of the 2019 -2020 school year. Our parents and teachers showed that Catholic education at its best is a true partnership between home and school. The experience during the global pandemic called for greater communication than ever before and gave our parents a deeper appreciation of our teachers’ role in the life and formation of their children. Our parents responded to this challenge magnificently to everyone’s benefit, and most especially, their children’s.
The end of the school year brought new and creative celebratory events including drive-through graduations and parades, and the spirit of community shone brightly with much crying and joyful laughing at just being able to see everyone again. It is clear our school communities bonded closer together during this time of adversity. And through it all, our principals set the bar high by being cheerleaders, faith leaders, stress relievers, and effective communicators. Thanks also to our pastors and priests for their support and pastoral encouragement.
Not being a native Yooper, I have now personally witnessed what ‘Yooper Strong’ really means. Most importantly, it’s our faith in Jesus Christ that is the invisible but real and strong bond that gives us the strength and joy to carry us through all of life’s good times and bad.
One tangible measure of how much trust and commitment our families have in our Upper Peninsula Catholic Schools is that currently, we have over 90% total enrollment in our schools for the 2020-21 school year, with two schools already over 100% of last year’s enrollment.
Each of our schools is currently developing a local reopening plan for this fall. These plans will prioritize keeping our students safe, follow local health and CDC guidelines, and ensure a robust academic and faith formation program. Most of our Upper Peninsula Catholic schools have small class sizes which will allow us to more easily institute social distancing recommendations. Once these local plans are complete, they will be shared with each local community.
Wishing you all a safe and blessed summer.