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Students celebrate with faith, fun, service

Heather Artushin • Feb 3, 2017 at 8:00 AM

SPRING LAKE — Students at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Spring Lake are celebrating National Catholic Schools Week with fun and meaningful activities planned each day this week.

The week was kicked off Sunday, Jan. 29, with students and teachers playing an important role in the traditions of the Mass, celebrating with members of the parish.

About 250 students and their families took part in Monday’s Family Night. They played bingo, posed together in the photo booth, and enjoyed pizza and a root beer keg. It also included an auction, raffle and karaoke.

“It’s a fun night, and a little bit of a fundraiser, as well,” Principal Steve VanHammen said.

Nearly $5,000 was raised at this year’s Family Night.

VanHammen said the students and staff were also excited to show off their new school to neighbors and friends who made it to Monday’s event. St. Mary’s students transitioned to a new school building after the Thanksgiving break.

On Tuesday morning, Student Council members traveled to the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Grand Rapids to celebrate a special Catholic Schools Week Mass, led by Father Dave Gross. St. Mary’s students were joined by student representatives from other Catholic schools in the diocese.

On Wednesday, students brought cards and gifts to show gratitude to their teachers, and the PTO hosted a luncheon to honor teachers and staff.

Thursday’s plans included a school-wide afternoon bowling trip to Sherman Lanes in Muskegon.

“Friday, we will have our normal school Mass here, but during and after Mass, we’ll be honoring the community members,” VanHammen said.

School volunteers, police officers, firefighters, retired teachers and military personnel in the community were invited for coffee, punch and cookies after the morning Mass.

The 2017 National Catholic Schools Week theme is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” St. Mary’s Catholic School emphasized the importance of service by fundraising for St. Martin’s Kids to benefit an orphanage and hospital. Students have been collecting coins for this cause, which will be counted and donated this week.

VanHammen emphasizes the importance of the parish community in supporting St. Mary’s School every week.

“(Catholic Schools Week is meant) to give recognition to everybody that’s involved in the Catholic schools across the country,” he said.

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