Why I teach in a Catholic school

Darice Norton, Nativity School, James Island

Catholic school teachers have an important role in society. They serve children from all economic backgrounds and strive to give them a strong academic and moral foundation, fostering the skills they need in life.

These teachers have chosen to work in an environment that emphasizes intellectual, spiritual, physical and social values. Their greatest reward comes from the success of their students.

The track record at Catholic schools has proven that they help children achieve high grades in subjects such as reading, writing and math, and score above average on national tests.

During a recent study, the National Catholic Educational Association showed that Catholic school students have above average results in gaining religious knowledge and attitudes towards their faith.

Here’s what some of the teachers in South Carolina said about why they chose Catholic schools:

 Darice Norton, Nativity School, James Island

“I didn’t choose to work here, God chose for me to work here. I wanted a loving environment for my children and feel blessed to be part of it.”

Darice Norton teaches physical education and computers, and is director of the extended day care program at Nativity School on James Island.

 Linda Boron, St. Peter School, Columbia

“It’s such a privilege to teach in Catholic school because it allows us to provide the students with daily encounters with the Christian concept of a life centered in Jesus. Our young people witness and experience ways to relate the teachings of Jesus to real life situations. We also have an expectation of excellence, and we do not deviate from that. Jesus gave us a recipe for life in the Beatitudes, and it’s a blessing for me as a teacher to be able to refer to them in my teaching.”

Linda Boron teaches second grade at St. Peter School in Columbia.

 Mary Bridget Maddan, St. Francis by the Sea School, Hilton Head

“The family values that are represented — it’s nice to have a value system that can be enforced at home and in the school.”

Mary Bridget Maddan is the librarian at St. Francis by the Sea School on Hilton Head.

 Kelly Curtis, Blessed Sacrament School, Charleston

“Catholic school has more to offer in moral structure and guidance, more of a holistic approach. The families are connected, too. It feels like home.”

Kelly Curtis teaches 5K at Blessed Sacrament School in Charleston.

 Jean Shorter, Blessed Sacrament School, Charleston

Jean Shorter said she never even considered teaching anywhere else. She added that many of the teachers are also former students, as she is.

Jean Shorter is an assistant teacher at Blessed Sacrament School.

 Tara Mendes, St. Anthony of Padua School, Greenville

“I feel very strongly that God brought me [here]. I love working here because I’m able to discuss faith and the Lord with our students. This was something I was unable to do with my students within the public school environment.”

Tara Mendes teaches 5K at St. Anthony of Padua School in Greenville.

 Andrew Thomas, St. Michael School, Garden City

“Because of my background in the seminary and growing up Catholic I had a longing to teach in a Catholic school. I wanted to use literature as a way to guide the children to explore Catholic moral teachings and I knew I could do that in a Catholic school.”

Andrew Thomas teaches junior high language arts, religion and Spanish at St. Michael School in Garden City.

Amy Wise Taylor, Terry Cregar, Deacon Robert Starr and Christina Lee Knauss contributed to this article.