Catholic Schools Week not only brings a national celebration of parochial schools, but also brought together the two Catholic Schools this past week in Garden City.
Friday morning at St. Dominic Parish, students from St. Dominic School and St. Mary School got together for a morning Mass and activities.
The activities included Bingo, learning about Habitat for Humanity, snacks and fellowship.
And during the week, students participated in still more activities.
Sunday started with an opening Mass and spaghetti dinner, Monday included a creative class uniform day, Tuesday was spent doing Kansas Day activities, Wednesday included school Mass and a reception, and Thursday saw a spelling bee at St. Dominic.
St. Mary's activities included doing a service project Monday, a sock hop on Tuesday, and a T-shirt day and spelling bee on Thursday.
The activities concluded with a Tournament of Virtues obstacle course Friday in the Parish Hall,
Gabby Guevara, 11, of St. Mary School, said her favorite activity was Monday's service day.
"We went to clean Main Street," she said. "We were helping a bunch of stores."
Sarah Villatoro, 10, also of St. Mary, agreed.
"We were cleaning, and we got candy for it," she said.
Both also said it was fun to have the two schools get together on Friday.
"I like being able to see my friends from St. Mary," St. Dominic student Ethan Martin, 12, said.
Ethan's favorite activity was eating pretzels Friday.
"It was a part of being able to talk to my friends," he said.
Sydney Nanninga, 7, St. Dominic student, said she enjoyed watching the spelling bee. She also liked wearing a sports shirt, jeans and a hat to school Monday.
When asked why Nanninga wore the outfit, she said, "Because we're all a team, a second-grade team."
Trina Delgado, principal of St. Dominic School, said the week is a celebration for the students, staff and all supporters of the parishes.
"It's not just local. It's a national celebration. It's a really big thing for us," she said.
Delgado said the students enjoyed uniform day.
"We had nerds, pajamas and ninjas. They were supposed to tie in the uniform to both faith and academics. So, the ninjas said they carry the sword of faith, the nerds said not everybody looks the same, and you have to look beyond the outside and look inside, and the pajama uniforms said they are in the comfort of Jesus," she said.
Delgado said the student seemed to enjoy the week.
"I think they like that it's different," she said. "It's a break from regular activities. We try to get them to see there are so many Catholic schools out there. It's not just us."
The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2013 is "Catholic Schools Raise the Standards." This year's theme celebrates the constant attention Catholic educators pay to increasing the learning and growth in faith of all students.
The theme also highlights the launch of a new initiative, the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, to ensure high standards at Catholic schools across the country. Catholic educators also are participating in a nationwide education initiative for all schools called the Common Core State Standards.
There are 5,636 Catholic elementary schools in the United States. Just more than 1,200 are in rural areas.
Seven Catholic elementary schools are in the Dodge City Diocese, including the two Catholic schools in Garden City.