A Sr. Marie Laurence School teacher comforts a child who was crying on the first day of school on Monday.

St. Dominic High students all set for the new school year.

~ 200 are new ~

 PHILIPSBURG--Catholic schools around the country, welcomed 2,000 students into their various campuses for the start of the new school year on Monday.

Of the 2,000 students, 200 were new. Executive Director of Catholic Education St. Maarten, Lilia Aventurin-Hodge said it was a joy to see the new and returning students ready for the new academic year. “The students were happy to be back and to connect with their peers and teachers. Words of inspiration and expectations were shared, linked to the values of the schools. New and returning staff were welcomed and introduced to the school communities,” she noted.

She said apart from two vacancies that are yet to be filled, all staff at the various Catholic schools are in place and schools are ready to start. “All in all, it was wonderful to see the beautiful exchanges between students, staff and parents. It promises to be a great year, as we follow our call to live an abundant life,” she said, adding that the board is grateful for the many students who are entrusted to them, as well as the dedicated and committed staff of Foundation Catholic Education St. Maarten.

“Your involvement as staff, along with parents, the community and the support of our church, is a vital part of the formation of our students as each one of us continues to contribute to education in one way or the other.”

The theme for this school year for Catholic schools is: “We are called to live an abundant life.”

In elaborating on what it is like to live an abundant life, Aventurin-Hodge said: “Abundant life is not about what we have. It’s not about what we get. It’s not about what we claim. Ultimately, abundant life is about what we receive as a gift from God and to live knowing we are stewards (agents, overseers) of the blessings of God. Furthermore, stewardship is not measured by what we have received, but by what we have given. At the end of the day, perhaps that is how we know we have an abundant life – when we have shared our life with others. When we have enough of the blessings of God (mercy, peace, love, joy, grace, self-control, wisdom, etc.) to share with others, and then actually do it, that’s when we truly have abundant life.”

There are seven Catholic schools in St. Maarten – one high school and six primary schools: St. Dominic High, St. Dominic Primary, Sr. Regina Primary, St. Joseph Primary, Sr. Borgia Primary, Sr. Marie Laurence School and Sr. Magda School.