Celebrate God and Life
As we explore the Sisters’ Core Value of Celebrate God and Life, there are many examples throughout the entire SSMO campus demonstrating how this Core Value is being brought to life. Here are a few examples of how everyone on this campus enjoys celebrating God and life.
Celebrating God and Life as a community
Before the pandemic, students at Valley Catholic Early Learning School would gather as a community for morning prayer in the front lobby of VCELS. After a three-year COVID-19 hiatus, students are once again gathering for Monday morning prayer with the Sunflower Pre-K class teaching others about faith through Bible stories, songs, and interactive activities.
“As educators we are truly blessed to be a part of this community to model and serve our youngest learners by following Jesus’ example through prayer, service, and love,” said Amber Ploussard, Valley Catholic Early Learning School Principal. “Returning to the Monday all-school prayer time is a chance to prepare ourselves for the week and come together in community to celebrate our faith.”
Before students in the Early Learning School come together for Monday morning prayer, the Sunflower Pre-K class picks a theme with the help of their teachers, Ms. Claudia Ward and Ms. Lynnettee Burton. Previous themes have been on how God created the heavens and earth, Adam and Eve, and Noah’s Ark.
“While the students at this age may not be able to comprehend deep spiritual ideas, by incorporating God into everyday activities like prayer time, we can help them become more familiar with spiritual topics and concepts for when they are able to understand more,” said Ms. Lynnettee Burton, lead preschool teacher and Sunflower Pre-K teacher. “During prayer time and during the school day, the youngest Valiants start to build a personal and meaningful relationship to guide them in faith.”
Celebrating God and Life through service
For the past six years, Valley Catholic High School students have come together to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) through different events on campus: a Dollars for Dutch fundraiser, Purple Out fundraisers at different VCHS sporting events, and the CCA Carnival. With all of these fundraisers, VCHS students typically raise between $4,000 and $5,000 for the Children’s Cancer Association.
“The kids love to participate in the carnival, and we try to have a good variety of events,” said Pat Thomas, English and History teacher and CCA Coordinator. “New highlights this year were a home run derby and a field goal kick, but the biggest money raiser each year is always the dunk tank. Students embrace their chance to get a little revenge on their favorite teachers for all those tests, papers, and homework assignments.”
All of these events culminate in the annual CCA Walk for Joy where Valley Catholic High School students join other students from six local Catholic schools to walk from Cathedral Park in Northwest Portland to the University of Portland. “The carnival really pairs with the CCA Walk for Joy to encourage community involvement. The Walk for Joy is the only time all year that students from all the Catholic schools in town get to come together for a larger cause,” said Thomas. “Combining the Walk with the CCA Carnival gives students an appreciation for CCA while providing an opportunity to have some fun serving a bigger cause.”
Celebrate God and Life through activities
At Maryville, residents are enjoying a new monthly activity, a therapy dog visit from Paws-4-Love. For one hour, Finn, a newfoundland/standard poodle mix pup, moves around the activity room where residents can pet him, give him treats, and even get a high-five from this joy-filled canine. It was Finn’s owner, Virginia Scanlon, who contacted Maryville Activities Director Kathy Fedr to inquire if she and Finn could visit Maryville residents.
“The residents enjoy seeing Finn’s furry face and being able to pet him,” said Fedr. “There are residents who had dogs as pets before they came to Maryville and they miss them. I see the joy in their eyes when Finn is interacting with them. ”By the end of each visit, the residents could continue to give Finn hugs and high-fives for another hour or two, but he has definitely earned some well-deserved time to recharge before he heads to another location to provide more heart-warming smiles to people who need it.
Maryville is delighted to celebrate these heart-warming moments between their wonderful residents and their furry companion each month. We appreciate the joy that Finn and Virginia provide. Visit pfltherapydogs.org to learn more about Paws for Love.
These are a few examples of how everyone on this campus finds ways to embody the Sisters’ Core Value to Celebrate God and Life in everything they do.