In March 2013, our choir teacher started working with students on a project to compose a school song. As the first step, she asked the students in her class a few questions about school and music. One question touched on a central concern of most – if not all – parents. That is, why should our child attend St. Robert Catholic School?
Here’s what we learned from students.
Every reason provided by students could be grouped under the same themes used to categorize the responses offered by their parents. However, what may set the students’ motivations apart from those shared by parents is the simplicity of each answer.
- Every student gave at least two reasons related to the classroom. Each student recognized at least one quality about his or her teacher. Collectively, several traits emerged as most important to students: being nice, being caring, being funny, and being understanding.
- Every student listed at least one quality about the school that would make their day, such as the joy of participating in sports, the joy of walking with fellow classmates in the mornings before class, the joy of having classes that were challenging, the joy of having lunch, and the joy of singing or praying in class.
- One second-grade student summed up what he or she liked in six words: “Our (gardeners) our teachers our friends.”
- Nearly every student made at least three references to the school community. By far, the most frequently named aspect of the community centered on their fellow schoolmates. For these students, it was about friendships with others who showed care and kindness for each other.
- One seventh-grade student wrote: “We have a bond that makes us feel like family. We help each other in different ways.”
- One sixth-grade student wrote: “Kids are very nice to the new kids.”
- Nearly three out of four students wrote about their gratitude for having religion in the school. Some of our younger students identified with this appreciation in the most concrete way, such as knowing that they have a priest or a beautiful church to go to.