Jerry Zufelt / Editor 2018-02-07 23:55:12
Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 PITTSBURGH — Students representing nearly every Catholic school in the Diocese of Greensburg raised their voices and showed their best dance moves in support of educational choice at the National School Choice Week rally at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh, Jan. 26. More than 300 Catholic school students from the diocese were joined by parents, principals, teachers and administrators from the Office for Catholic Schools. And they were among the hundreds of people from Catholic schools, private schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools and homeschooling environments at the Friday morning event. Students from St. John the Evangelist Regional Catholic School, Uniontown, opened the rally with the School Choice Dance. Bishop Edward C. Malesic followed them with the invocation. “We are blessed. You are God’s gifts to us,” he said to the students. And he reminded the adults to always put the children’s needs first. “Give parents the wisdom to do what is best for you (students),” he prayed. Otto Banks, executive director of the REACH (Road to Educational Achievement Through Choice) Foundation, was master of ceremonies and led cheers of “My Child, My Choice” and “What do you want? Choice” throughout the rally. Two mothers of students from Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington, were among the speakers who explained the importance of school choice for them and their families. Melissa Polito praised MQA for the many opportunities offered in its curriculum and said the teachers and staff are “second to none” and “give of themselves selflessly.” Megan Mlinarcik said she had no idea her family would become part of a much larger family at MQA. “Teachers know our kids personally, as well as the parents and siblings,” she said. National School Choice Week, which started in 2011, is designed to raise awareness about the different K-12 educational options — including traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, Catholic schools, private schools and homeschooling — that are available to families in communities across the country. The Pittsburgh rally was one of more than 32,000 events around the country — and one of three large rallies in Pennsylvania — held in conjunction with National School Choice Week (Jan. 21-27). The Pennsylvania rallies were supported by a coalition that includes the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (www.pacatholic.org) and the REACH Foundation, a Harrisburg-based grass roots coalition dedicated to ensuring parental choice in education (www.paschoolchoice.org).
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