By Emily Edwards
SUN contributing writer
BINGHAMTON — Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the patron of my high school, Seton Catholic Central, once said “The goal of all Catholic Education must be the example of the joyful love and selfless service so that young people will accept the invitations of Christ to follow him and to be his witnesses.”
Since the beginning of my education, I have been privileged to have been able to attend a Catholic school. However, until I reached high school I did not take the time to fully appreciate the effects that Catholic education has had on my life. I realized how my school truly carries out the goals that Saint Elizabeth Seton set forth when she started the first Catholic school 200 years ago. Through the love and service of my catholic education, I have been provided numerous opportunities, taught countless values, and have been influenced by many people.
First of all, my Catholic Education has provided me with opportunities that no other type of education would have been able to offer. My school not only offers Advanced Placement classes, a variety of clubs, and sports like other schools, but I believe that my school has taken each of these opportunities to the next level.
The determination in my school has caused students to push to the best of their ability in academics and athletics. The students in my school have shown that just because we are smaller than other schools, does not mean we are inferior, which goes along with my school’s value of excellence. My school has given each student that passes through its doors the opportunity to mature, grow in faith and intelligence, and to offer their talents to others. I particularly would like to mention how the opportunity of service has inspired me. Because Seton Catholic Central is constantly involved in helping the community, I have been able to experience the joy and relief that one can bring to another. When someone in the community asks who has done a certain service project, it comes to no surprise to them when the answer is “Seton Students.” I am thankful that my Catholic education has not only encouraged me to be persistent in academics and extracurricular activities, but that it has also opened my eyes up to the world of service.
My Catholic education has also taught me a great number of values. It seems as if every day I leave school feeling like I have learned something different. Students of other schools mock Catholic education, including the fact that we have to wear certain attire or that we work prayer into our daily schedules, but the values that I have learned at Seton Catholic Central I would not have received anywhere else. I frequently witness how opponents in sports contests will look on as one of our teams prays before a game. However, that prayer is part of the spiritual values that catholic education has provided. Throughout my education, I have been taught responsibility, communication, perseverance, honesty, character, leadership, integrity, compassion, and most importantly, trust. Trust the people that you love, trust that your hard work will pay off, and trust in your faith. Being a part of my faith each and every day, from Masses, to prayers before tests, to the presence of crucifixes in each room I enter, reminds me that Christ and the Holy Spirit are present in my school, where they are constantly welcomed by its faith-filled values.
Lastly, the people that have been a part of my Catholic education have shaped me the most because they have pushed the opportunities and values upon me. The teachers have challenged me to develop goals and to follow through on them. They truly care about the success of each student, and have always been available for help in any way that I needed. Because of the smaller size of my classes, my teachers and I have gotten to know and understand each other on a level that could not be achieved in any other educational environment. The calming, humourous personalities and continuous support of all the teachers, faculty, and staff have allowed me to reach my full potential as a student and as a Christian. The students of Seton Catholic Central have also transformed me because each one of them is a unique individual, living out God’s plan for them. The amount of talent, leadership, and potential that the students of my school have is overwhelming. We are all part of the Seton family, as we push each other to be the best that we can be and always provide whatever we can offer to each other. A great representation of this is at our home basketball games, where one can witness the pride and devotion to our school. Thus, the people involved in my Catholic education have shown me what goodness is and how I can reach it.
I have fully realized the purposes of Catholic Education, especially at Seton Catholic Central High School. It is a place where I am allowed to walk with Christ and have him be a part of my day-to-day life. My faith-based education has opened the doors to numerous opportunities for my future and has taught me life lessons through its positive educators and my role model peers. It has challenged me to succeed not only in academics, but also in my spiritual life, with my greatest teacher being Jesus. My years in a Catholic school have been filled with unforgettable memories, remarkable discoveries, and lasting impressions. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton said many years ago “Each day focus on the simple remembrance of the presence of God in us.” I have seen the presence of God in the people that are a part of my catholic education and in the actions that my school has taken in helping others. As I take the next step in my life next year by starting my college education, I know that what I have learned throughout the years of my Catholic education will always remain with me. I am confident that any challenges I may face across the roads of life, will be overcome, because my Catholic education has prepared me for the real world and has created a foundation for my future.
(Editor’s note: Emily is a senior at Seton Catholic Central)