I received a lovely surprise last week. My daughter was named “student of the month” for the freshman class. Her nomination had nothing to do with grades or extra-curricular activities, but kindness.

How cool is that?

St. Philip High School’s “Students of the Month” for Kindness

Kindness is one of several “student of the month” themes our middle and high schools celebrate. The list includes qualities like leadership, service, wisdom, cooperation, graciousness, honesty, patience, positive attitude, responsibility.

Why not test scores? We have some of the best in the area.

Why not athletic success? We have our share of swag.

Why not? Because that is not Christ’s definition of success.

St. Joseph Middle School’s “Students of the Month” for Leadership

The two most important commandments are to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Talents are gifts from God, but these gifts are ineffective without good character. Our Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools aim to develop our children’s character alongside their gifts.

This is evident in our new program “Crayons to College and Career”, which recently received a grant from the Calhoun ISD. Creator Kyra Rabbitt wanted to encourage our littlest Tigers to think about higher education and their future goals.

What does it take for a successful future?

Most would say good grades and a great plan, but Ms. Rabbitt and her team believe there’s another component.

“Life is about more than grades and what you can put on paper,” Ms. Rabbitt said. “You need personal skills and to be strong in your faith. We want to celebrate the whole student and not just the academic piece.”

This is why “Crayons to College and Career” is starting with the ABCs of character.

Each week, our preschool through fifth-grade students will concentrate on two character traits, starting with “A for Attitude” and “B for Behavior”. Teachers will lead class discussions about these traits, read special books that correspond with these traits, and, at the end of the week, nominate students who best exemplify those traits.

It’s a mini-version of the middle and high school’s student of the month.

St. Joseph Elementary School’s “Students of the Week” for Attitude and Behavior

All nominated students will attend a year-end celebration breakfast, during which a lottery will determine ten $100 college scholarships winners.

“We are so proud of all of our students and their daily behavior and hope this program will enhance traits they already possess, encourage new behaviors, all while instilling the importance of higher education for future success,” St. Joseph principal Sara Myers said.

There are plenty of talented people in the world, but not enough people with good character. Good character enables us to use our talents to love God and our neighbors.

Our Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools cultivate good character, promising our children a bright future in this life and the life to come.

How cool is that?

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Questions? Call Cathy Erskine at 269.963.1131