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Pajama-clad students start Catholic Schools Week

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Jan. 30, 2012 at 9:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 30, 2012 at 7:31 p.m.

Our Lady of Victory School students in Denise Smith's third-grade class rush to hug her when asked, "What is one of your favorite things about National Catholic School Week?" Students and teachers wore pajamas for the school day, and faculty members added the extra touch like Ms. Smith's hair rollers.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2012

The 39th annual Catholic Schools Week 2012 is Sunday, Jan. 29 through Sunday, Feb. 5. The 2012 Catholic Schools Week Theme is "Catholic Schools: Faith, Academics, Service."There are 6,980 Catholic schools in the United States.There are 5,774 Catholic elementary schools, and 1,206 Catholic secondary schools.The total Catholic school student enrollment in 2010-11 was 2,065,872. SOURCE: National Catholic Educational Association

Substituting Catholic school uniforms for pajamas isn't an every day occurrence at Our Lady of Victory. But Monday, the first day of Catholic Schools Week, students relished the exchange.

"Pajama Day is funny because you get to have fun with your friends," 8-year-old second-grader, Conner Alexander, said.

Conner wore Jeep 4X4 jammies to his second-grade class Monday - instructed by Carol Dippel, who wore matching blue sleepwear - and joined his pajama-clad classmates on the floor for a slumber party and reading activity.

"I like Pajama Day because we get to read with the sixth-graders," 8-year-old Brittany Myers giggled. "The first time I heard we got to wear pajamas to school, I thought that was crazy."

Brittany said her pajamas were purchased especially for Catholic School Week.

Conner brought his favorite book to the slumber party, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," while Brittany toted her favorite book to the floor, "Judy Moody Gets Famous."

"This second-grade class loves to read," Dippel said. "The energy this week is high."

Pajama Day kicked off a weeklong schedule of non-traditional activities at Our Lady of Victory, which includes a sock hop, western day, patriotic day, sports day and other events designed to unite the student body and their families. For the rest of the week, parents and extended family are welcome on campus to join in the festivities with the students and peruse the arts and crafts hanging through the building's breezeways.

Our Lady of Victory joins Catholic schools nationwide that are celebrating their Catholic education from Sunday, Jan. 29, through Sunday, Feb. 5, and acknowledging the importance of a God-centered education.

"We share our faith every day, but this is a concentrated effort that goes along with all the Catholic schools in the United States," Assistant Principal Linda Stuart said. "We enjoy the week, and at the same time, they get the message and have fun."

The Catholic Schools Week message this year, Stuart said, is "Catholic Schools: Faith, Academics, Service."

Each of the students are offered activities and discussions on how to carry out the main points of the theme.

"I think this week brings us together as a community, and we consider what a gift Catholic school is because we get to share our faith together," Dippel said. "We get to celebrate who we are."

Donning pink and blue sponge curlers and a white bath robe, third-grade teacher Denise Smith led her class in a discussion Monday on each of the theme's points.

"What do we mean by academics?" Smith asked the class.

"We learn about God. Some schools can't even say God, or they're not allowed to talk about it in school," Cole Jacob, 8, said.

After a brief discussion, the students agreed it was important to couple their Catholic faith with a well-rounded education.

"I'm proud to be a Catholic because we can learn about Jesus. We couldn't do that in a public school," Zachary Shaver, 8, said.

Our Lady of Victory students are thrilled to participate in a week of untraditional learning.

But they're also looking forward to the best part of Catholic Schools Week - spending informal time with their favorite teachers.

"The best part is our teachers. We have the best teachers," said 9-year-old Emily Neubauer.

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