The Little School that Could
A little over six years ago I had the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Higgins, the principal of Resurrection Catholic School at the time. As she shared information about the school and discussed me joining the Board of Trustees, I remember her saying “RCS is a special place. I am not sure how to explain it, but you will see what I mean.”
It wasn’t long after that meeting that I was in the school and we discussed the growth mindset learning approach, and I spent the day observing the classrooms. I remember watching the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts & Math) class doing various activities where they used different materials like popsicle sticks and string to build a bridge. Some were amazing, and some didn’t work so well...but as the teacher praised their efforts the kids didn’t get discouraged.
They seemed to just tackle the challenge and have confidence in their ability to learn and figure it out. I also remember visiting the pre-school class that day and watching the kids sing “This Little Light of Mine”. Many were still learning the words, but that didn’t
matter. You could feel the joy flowing from them as they belted out the song, complete with very animated motions. My eyes were drawn to a “Believe and Achieve” poster in the hallway as I left that day and I remember thinking that I had figured out what Mrs. Higgins was saying; RCS truly was a special place where the kids felt comfortable to embrace challenges and persist through obstacles because of the belief they can learn and grow in a safe environment where they are supported and loved. It was that day that I first thought of RCS in relation to the children’s book by Watty Piper, The Little Engine that Could. I could almost hear the “I think I can, I think I can” chant of the determined little train echoing from the classrooms.
As I continued to work with Resurrection over the years that followed, I often thought back to the parallel to the “I think I can” mantra of that little train. However, what I came to realize was that what truly made RCS special wasn’t how it was like the story in that children’s book, but more about how it differed from that story. As you may remember, the book tells of a train engine that stalls on his journey to deliver gifts to the children on the other side of the mountain. They are approached by a fancy new passenger train engine, a big strong freight engine and an old worn-out rusty engine, all of whom say they have more important things to do or they are too tired to help the train. This is until a very little train comes to save the day with a “chug, chug, I think I can, I think I can” as he pulls the train over the mountain. Hurray!
While this is a great story of the power of positive thinking, what I have learned truly makes Resurrection Catholic School special is that every one of the “engines” that power the school says “I think I can” time and time again.
Support the academic and spiritual growth of our kids despite growing class sizes, tight budgets and varied academic levels post-pandemic? “I think I can, I think I can”, say the faculty and staff members.
Raise additional funds to support scholarships for more students? “I think I can, I think I can”, from our donors and the Catholic Education Foundation.
Take time from busy schedules to help work in the cafeteria or at a fundraising event, or attend a planning meeting? “I think I can, I think I can”, is the resounding response from our board members and other volunteers.
Our families as they say “I think I can, I think I can” to the many sacrifices they have to make in order to send their children to our school.
And lastly, our students who I have heard so many times go from the self-affirming, “I think I can” to the amazing “I knew I could” as they tackle new challenges and achieve success…just like the little engine pulling the train over the mountain.
As I complete my tenure on the board of trustees, and reflect back on what truly makes RCS such a special place I realize it is that time and time again, each “engine” says yes to the call of God and works together to provide opportunities for our students. And through faith and teamwork, great things can be accomplished.
Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose."
Chair Of The Board Of Trustees