From Saint Matthew School
During the final week of January, Catholic schools around the country celebrate the unique Christ-centered educational opportunity they provide to students and their families. Tyrone’s Saint Matthew Catholic School has been offering a faith-based education to area children since 1869. What began as a one room building that featured a pot-belly stove which the students stoked with coal and cow stables and pig sties as neighbors has grown to be a modern educational facility.
Housed within the walls of the 1886 brick school, which features a bell tower topped with a glimmering cross, are classrooms containing the original slate chalkboards beside the latest interactive smartboards and computer stations. A Science STEM Lab is equipped with a 3D printer, smartboard, programmable robots, and a huge Lego wall. The adjoining hall provides a performance space, gym, and cafeteria as well as access to Saint Matthew Church which serves as the spiritual foundation for the school.
School Principal Pauline Wiley reflected on the purpose of Catholic Schools Week. “It is essential that we take time to celebrate the treasure that is Saint Matthew School and the Christian based education we provide. Academic excellence is paramount and our students, along with the active support of their families, receive a rigorous background in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. What makes us unique is that we also address the spiritual development of each child.”
Father Michael Pleva, Administrator of Saint Matthew Parish, added, “Through daily religious studies and participation in many faith-based activities and community service projects, we are able to help each child develop a personal relationship with Christ that will last a lifetime.”
The celebration at Saint Matthew School begins with a two-day workshop with local artist Laurie Cave. As part of the ongoing Artist in Residence Program, local visual and performing artists share their talents with the students. “Coming to this school is the highlight of my month,” Cave shared. “The children are so receptive and anxious to try all types of mediums. Being able to visit each month allows us to build on specific skills, which are only enhanced by time with the other artists who are scheduled throughout the year. The display we create for this week is going to be very exciting.”
The students’ artwork was displayed as part of the opening Mass offered at 10:30 on Sunday, January 28, at Saint Matthew Church. Following the Mass, individuals visited the school. Other special events for the week include a sports theme day, team board games, Bingo for Books and ice cream, a Zumba session with Dance Fusion, pajama and movie afternoon, and the annual talent show. Students will also provide the music, readings, and serving during the School Mass on January 31 at 9:00 a.m., which is open to the public.
“This week is a celebration of the joy Jesus shares with us all,” Wiley concluded. “We encourage everyone to contact us or a Catholic School near you to see what opportunities are available for the children in your life.”