Winning Essay for Catholic Schools Week 2016 at Assumption Catholic School in Jacksonville
February 9, 2016 • Diocese of St. Augustine

Seventh grader, Evan Cope, was selected as the winner of an essay contest in honor of Catholic Schools Week 2016 at Assumption Catholic School in Jacksonville. The students were asked to write on the topic, “What does going to a Catholic school mean to you?” The purpose of the essay was to highlight the benefits of a Catholic education and how it can help prepare children for future success.

Here is a copy of Evan’s winning essay:

“What Does Going to a Catholic School Mean to You?”
by Evan Cope – 7th Grade

Evan Cope
      Photo provided by Assumption Catholic School

Several wonderful things come to my mind when I hear the words “Catholic school.” I think of happiness and freedom from the everyday hustle and bustle of life that Catholic school offers. I have been going to a Catholic school for about two years now. I had no clue as to what was in store for me as I began the journey, but what a fun and exhilarating ride it has been. Catholic school means so much to me, from a safe environment, to freedom of religion, and uniforms that encourage togetherness and a family environment.

Catholic school is the second safest environment I know, next to the comfort of my own home, of course. Catholic school is a place where I can touch base with my friends without having to avoid courtyard skirmishes. At my previous school, playground squabbles would break out, and in the hallways, someone’s meaty fist was often waiting to play you like a game of “Bop-It.”  In Catholic school, not only do the students respect other students, but the teachers respect the students as well.  They are always willing to take the time to discuss anything that may be on a student’s mind.  In public school, teachers will often shrug you off like last spring’s fashions.

At my old public school, I had show and tell and brought in a necklace with a cross on it to explain my faith.  Though I was excited to share my faith with other students, I was discouraged from doing so. There I was, in the second grade, and unable to be a messenger of God.  Here at Catholic school, we are encouraged to spread our knowledge in our faith. We have opportunities for religion class, mass, and adoration that can’t be provided anywhere else. With all these resources that allow me to learn more about my faith, I grow in my spiritual walk daily, and even my parents learn something that they weren’t taught in their old days of Sunday school. Adoration is great after a long, tough day at school.  It frees your mind from all distractions and with Mass, we are given the chance to receive the Eucharist every Tuesday.

Have you ever been picked on because of the appearance of your clothes or because some people felt that your attire wasn’t fashionable?  This happens to children on a daily basis in public school.  Here at Catholic school however, this simply isn’t the case.  This is because everyone is wearing the exact same thing and looks just like the next person.  You might think this would make for a boring experience.  On the contrary, everyone looks presentable, professional, and is ready to learn.

Catholic school means all these things and so much more.  I am thriving academically in a safe environment and am encouraged to grow in my faith and share it with others.  A neat, clean, uniform appearance ensures that all students are focused on learning and are preparing for success.  I am very grateful for the opportunities in Catholic school and I hope to pass the tradition on to my children one day.

Evan’s essay was selected among the middle school students at Assumption Catholic School in Jacksonville.