Teacher Spotlight: Karri Gomez

Even when she was young and living in the tiny town of Ponca City, Oklahoma — a town so small that there wasn’t even a McDonald’s until she turned 13 — Karri Gomez knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. My family was either in teaching, farming, or insurance — there was no in between. My parents, aunts, and uncles were teachers. I’ve always had a natural knack for communication and reaching kids,” said Gomez. “I learned [from my family] at a very early age that teaching was more than giving instruction in a classroom setting: it’s about building confidence and life skills.”

Over the years, Gomez watched her family make a difference in their students’ lives and became inspired to do the same in her future classroom. She believes that every experience you have molds you. She moved around frequently as a child, and those experiences strongly affect her approach to teaching. She’s conscious of how every child feels in her classroom and remembers what she would have wanted as a new student.

“We moved around a lot, and when we moved, I got to experience being the new kid — sometimes good, sometimes bad,” said Gomez. “I had teachers that were empathetic and teachers that weren’t. It really taught me what it’s like for a child to experience being new, and I would never want someone to experience the negative things that I did; I really want them to experience the positive things. I want to create an enriching and engaging classroom where students enjoy the learning process.”

In Gomez’s classroom, she makes the curriculum come alive, whether it’s through solving exciting “classroom crimes” with interactive clues or by sharing funny, relatable stories. You’ll never find her at her desk; she’s constantly involved with her students, joyful as she watches them discover new information.

“I’ll teach any grade level, I love them all! But third grade is so much fun. What’s so amazing about this age group is this is when they start to develop their own voice and personality. They take what they’ve learned and really start to apply it,” said Gomez. “They become more independent and mature learners; they become more advanced readers, writers, mathematicians, and thinkers. We go deeper into topics and the students can relate the content to their personal life and experience. This shows up in their writing and everything becomes more personal. It’s so much fun watching them grow throughout the year!”

Not only does Gomez help students grow academically, but spiritually. At the top of every assignment, each student’s paper is headed with Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” She loves sharing the Word of God with them and loves watching their eyes light up in the faith-filled moments

“As a teacher, I always say a prayer about the class I’m going to get,” said Gomez. “It’s not so much, “How am I going to get through all this material?” It’s, “Open my eyes to what they need. How can I help them? Who needs help academically? Who needs to challenged? Who is lacking in self-confidence?”

Throughout the year, Gomez gets to know each student as an individual and encourages them to push through challenges. It’s important that each child understands how capable they are and that they can always lean on the Lord, because He will always be there for them.

“I never look at what I do as a job; I love working with my students. I love that I get to learn with them. Building a strong rapport with students is the key to a successful learning experience,” said Gomez. “Students have to know they can come to you. You have to be there for [students] and get to know them. They have to know I’m going to help them, be there for them, and cheer them on.”

As an Orlando private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How to Prepare for The Advent Season

Christmas season is right around the corner! Our Orlando private school community is excited for the upcoming festivities to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But before then, we want to take time to observe Advent. This is the perfect time to slow down, focus on the meaning of the season, and deepen our relationship with Christ.

Practice Silence
Between holiday parties and social commitments, Christmas is often a loud and busy time. In contrast, Advent is a time to be quiet! Dedicate the beginning of each day to nurturing your relationship with Him by praying for a friend, reading your favorite Bible story, or listening to your favorite worship music on the drive to work.

Advent Wreath
An Advent wreath represents Christ’s eternal love for us. On the wreath, there are four candles: three purple and one pink. There’s also a white candle in the center of the wreath. The purple candles represent our preparation for the Messiah through things such as prayer and fasting, the pink candle represents our joy for His coming, and the white candle — also called the Christ Candle — represents His purity and ability to wash away our sins. The colored candles are lit each Sunday to remind us of the light Christ delivers compared to the darkness of sin.

Give to Charity
God calls us to serve others, and Advent is in the heart of the giving season! There’s a surplus of giving opportunities around the holidays, so consider donating your time to serving your community. If free time is scarce during the busy holiday season, you and your family could also set money aside to give toward the charity of your choosing.

Daily Devotional
Sometimes what we need is a small dose of nourishment through a devotional. This can be done on your own, or you can gather friends and family to complete the devotionals together. You may be surprised how many people would love some company while digging into the Bible! You can hold each other accountable, help answer each other’s questions, and encourage one another when you become frustrated or confused.

Nightly Bible Time
Children greatly benefit from observing the Advent season! If you don’t already have nightly Bible time, Advent is an excellent opportunity to spend evenings talking about the Bible together. As Christmas gets closer, spend your time reading about the birth of Jesus, and talk to your children about what we can learn from Advent.

As an Orlando private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How to Throw an All Saints Day Party

November 1st is All Saints Day! This is a time for us to remember the saints and celebrate them with our friends and family. As an Orlando private school, St. Charles Borromeo loves to see our community partake in these celebrations alongside the people who matter most. If you’re considering throwing an All Saints Day Party this year, take a look at some fun games to incorporate!

Angel Food Cupcake Walk
Snacks are one of the best parts of any party — especially for young kids. Why not combine a treat with a game? Print out pictures of saints for your kids and their friends to stand in front of. Write down the names of each saint, and then put them in a hat. Draw a name, and whoever is standing by that saint wins a cupcake! Want to add an extra layer of excitement? Tape pictures of saints to chairs and turn this into a game of musical chairs, or ask children to give a fact about the saint before rewarding them with a treat.

Halo Party Favors
Need a fun, simple party favor? Try glow sticks. You can put together glow stick halos for each guest, or let them pick their own colors and create their own halo. These “bracelet halos” are an easy way to set the mood and help everyone remember the reason for celebration.

Pin The Halo on The Saint
Put a spin on an old classic with a picture of a saint, a paper halo, some tape, and a blindfold. Apply the same rules for Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Just place the blindfold on a player, spin them 3 times (or more or less, depending on the age of your players), and see if they succeed in pinning the halo on the saint.

Saint Freeze Tag
Now that cooler weather is approaching, it’s time to take the games outside! Everyone can challenge their own knowledge of saints with this twist on freeze tag. Whenever someone is tagged and frozen, they have to say the name of a saint to unfreeze. The hard part? You can’t repeat a name!

Our community at St. Charles Borromeo wishes you and your family a happy All Saints Day! As an Orlando private school, our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Celebrate National Good Neighbor Day

September 28th is National Good Neighbor Day! As an Orlando private school, St. Charles Borromeo teaches our students to share the love of Jesus with everyone around them — and this holiday is the perfect time to do that. We aim to be good neighbors throughout the entire year, but we’re excited to take this opportunity to go above and beyond, especially as many neighborhoods welcome new families at the start of a school year.

Follow the Commandments

As Jesus explains in Matthew 22:36-39, the most important commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor as you would love yourself. On the surface level, it may be easy to assume He means that we should simply be kind to others, and while being kind is a good start, we can do better than that.

Take the First Step

Can you name all of your neighbors? You’d be surprised how many people are unaware of who lives right next door! Reach out to your neighbor, and introduce yourself. There’s a vulnerability that comes with putting yourself out there and taking that first step, but oftentimes, people are hoping someone else will take initiative — and that can be you.

The Little Things

You don’t have to do anything extravagant; in fact, the little things are often the most powerful. You and your children can bake homemade sweets to welcome your new neighbors to town, or invite them over for dinner. It’s also important to make yourself available. By simply being outside more, walking over to say hi while you’re both doing yard work, or just waving hi, you’re showing that you’re open to getting to know each other more! If your neighbor asks for your help, do as much as you can.

Show Interest in Them

And perhaps the most important: remember that your job is not to turn each conversation into a deep heart-to-heart on the Bible and religious beliefs. Show a genuine interest in their children, their aging parents, their dream to go back to school, and make plans to see that new movie that you both can’t wait for. Value the ordinary parts of people’s lives without feeling like you’ve got to “get to the church stuff,” and you’ll find an entirely new depth.

Go Beyond Your Neighborhood

Being a good neighbor doesn’t end when you drive off your street. Dedicate time and energy to helping out in your community. That can include planning a garage sale and donating the proceeds to charity, volunteering at a local nonprofit, or helping a friend at church fundraise for their mission trip.

We’re called to follow in His footsteps, and what better way to do this than to be warm, inviting neighbors? As an Orlando private school, our community aims to help our students embrace a kind and generous spirit. Find out more about our amazing school here!