Each quarter we’ll introduce a school family so they can share what they love about being a part of the St. Catharine School community. Whenever we can learn more about each other, the circle of faith and fellowship in our school grows! If you are interested in being a Spotlight Family, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the school year winds to a close, we turn our spotlight onto a very special family as they celebrate and reflect upon their 30-year era of having a child at St. Catharine School!
Meet The Reis Family, including our parish’s own Deacon Reis, wife Lisa, and youngest daughter, Annie, our student council president!
|Q: What brought your family to St. Catharine School?
A: Thirty-five years ago, Chris and I could be found pushing our firstborn daughter, 3-month-old Emily in her stroller, up and down the streets of Eastmoor around St. Catharine, anxious to find a house – ANY house that we could afford to buy. The housing market seemed impossible, yet in the fall of 1982, we found a good case scenario for us – a worst house on the block fixer upper on S. Broadleigh Road, which leads directly to the front door of St. Catharine School. It was a good fit, and after many years of painting parties, roofing parties, tear-out parties and numerous additions we are still there. It was from there – 30 years ago – that we first walked our daughter Emily to her first day of Kindergarten, and as we head up to our Annie’s graduation this June, we will have had a child in St. Catharine School for 30 years!
|Q: What are some of your family’s favorite school traditions?
A: We love the tradition of the school Mass. I can remember in the earlier years, there wasn’t an all -school Mass, but different grades were assigned a day that they were to come to the 8:00 Mass and families would try and attend. I remember lots of Masses with little ones still in PJ’s and lots of Cheerios.
Deacon now has the wonderful opportunity to experience these Masses in a new way. He loves when he’s able to assist at the school Masses, and loves that he will always feel a close connection to the school community that way.
We have lots a great memories of so many sports teams over the years, and hanging out with and getting to know so many families on the fields – that’s a tradition that certainly hasn’t changed!
Another tradition, a memory and an ongoing one, is the parish festival. I remember when it started, it always coincided with the end of school, and it was setting up the last week of school. I don’t think our kids were too focused on school that week, but they were constantly giving updates on which rides were being set up. The festival started out great and has been getting better every year. We now love to see our older kids bring our grandkids to enjoy the same things they did growing up.
|Q: Annie is the student council president–what has she enjoyed about serving in that role?
A: Annie was really honored to be elected to student council president and really loves serving with Mrs. Ramsey and hearing the ideas of students in every grade. She loves how student council continues the wonderful school tradition of reaching out to those in need among us by getting the entire school community behind wonderful ministries.
|Q: What advice can you offer to newer families who are looking for ways to get more involved at the school?
A: It is such a beautiful thing to see what happens when people have specific gifts to share that the greater community sees and puts to use. So many great things that have happened here are because of that. It can be tricky coming into a community where many people seem to be close and “in the loop” but I have always found that families are happy to welcome and get to know new families and get them right in the loop.
|Q: What makes St. Catharine a special school?
A: This community is firmly rooted in our Catholic faith; the students have a solid formation – solid academic formation, training and growth and spiritual formation and growth; fellowship is built into the process, where students come together and families are encouraged to come together as a community of families – sharing our lives, traditions, ups and downs and our faith with one another and the community around us. All of is centered on families, with each family encouraged to help build up the body. When a family in the community has a need, and that need is made known, this community reaches out with unbelievable grace and generosity.
When the Bishop Griffin Center opened in 2007, I was blessed to be there and see how the partnership between BGC and St. Catharine School developed from the very beginning. The school has reached out in more ways than I can remember whenever a need arose – from collections of coats to shoes to blankets to diapers to personal care items – whenever a need was shared, you have responded. I distinctly remember a few years ago, when I shared with Mrs. Ramsey and student council that we were running out of personal care items, the school responded with a drive around Christmas that resulted in the center having these items to give for nearly a year! That’s generosity!
|Q: In what ways have you seen the school community evolve over the past 30 years?
A: It has been an amazing journey to be a part of the same school community from 1987-2017. There have been many changes, but in many remarkable ways, this community has remained unchanged in that it is a school, centered on faith and excellent academic preparation, and deeply rooted in community and family. The family brings their gifts to this community and this community, in return, blesses and strengthens the students and their families. Chris is so blessed to serve as a deacon in this community and we both look forward to serving and staying rooted however we can!