Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

student walking with book

The 47th annual Catholic Schools Week is coming up, and this year’s theme is “Faith. Excellence. Service.” At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, we believe these three words perfectly represent Catholic education. We will be launching our Catholic Schools Week with an open house Sunday, January 31st, and we welcome anyone who is interested in our school to join. Here is what we will be celebrating that week:

Emphasis on Faith

Faith is the foundation of a well-rounded Catholic education. Our students participate in daily prayer and gather weekly for Mass. By incorporating faith into our education, we remind students that their belief is an important aspect of daily life. Every step of the way, our students know that God is by their side. This is just one of many ways we help our students become responsible citizens of the world.

classroom with plexiglass

Promoting Academic Excellence

Challenging students with academics that prepare them for the real world is a priority at our school. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education awarded St. Charles Borromeo the honor of being a Blue Ribbon School, placing it in the top 200 schools in the nation for academic excellence. Every year, we aspire to maintain this level of achievement with a rigorous curriculum that helps students reach their full potential. 

children packing lunches

Service to our Community

As part of our curriculum at St. Charles Borromeo, we strongly encourage students to help those in need. Some service projects take place during school hours so our students can work together toward a common cause. We also believe parent involvement is crucial to building our school community, so we established a parent volunteer program called P.A.W.S. With every family doing their part, our school can help every part of our Orlando community.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. 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.

Ringing in the New Year with Your Child

Dress up

Celebrating the New Year as an adult looks a little different from celebrating as a child. First of all, New Year’s Day becomes more significant with every passing year. Secondly, like with any party, children and adults just celebrate differently. Get together with your child this year, and ring in 2021 in a way you will both remember for years to come. 

Get Fancy

When attending a major celebration, dressing up is always part of the fun. Trying on your new favorite heels or dusting off your best suit is basically the adult version of playing dress up. Find fun items like costume bow ties and pearls to dress up with your child. Seeing what they think of as fancy will be fun, and you will have the opportunity to take great pictures for family photo albums. Add in a photo booth, and get creative with paper masks, speech bubbles, and other fun props. 

chocolate fountain

Kid-Friendly Refreshments

While adults immediately associate New Year’s Eve with champagne and black-eyed peas, there are options that are more palatable for children. For mock champagne, use sparkling grape juice, or add Sprite to another flavor of juice. Instead of a drink bar, set up an ice cream or hot cocoa bar, depending on what the weather in Florida decides to do. Consider a chocolate fountain, but only if you are ready to monitor it throughout the night. Crockpot foods and dips are also a great option, as they can stay heated up, but they also tend to get a little messy. 

photo album

Create Lasting Memories

With the year drawing to a close, now is the last chance to make lasting memories of 2020. Put together a scrapbook of memories for the year or look through old photo albums together. Let your child reminisce on their favorite games and toys from the year. If you have a white board, let everyone write their memories down for the rest of the family to see. Taking time to look at the positive aspects of 2020 will help your family prepare for a great year in 2021. We encourage students to always look at the bright side, and we believe a positive mentality starts at home.

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, we encourage families to spend time together to continue faith-based education at home. 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.

Who was the Real Saint Nicholas?

Saint Nicholas painting

While we celebrate Advent, we should reflect on why we celebrate the way we do. Our first priority is celebrating the birth of Jesus and watching and waiting for His second coming. Most families also recognize the tradition of Santa Claus, a jolly round man with interesting origins. We wanted to take a deeper look into Saint Nicholas, the saint who brought us so many traditions for Christmas that we still celebrate today.

Early Life

Saint Nicholas, also known as Nicholas of Myra, grew up not wanting for anything. His wealthy parents raised him as a devout Christian. Unfortunately, they both died in an epidemic when he was young. Young Nicholas used his inheritance to assist the needy, sick and suffering. He became well-known as a friend and protector to everyone in need. He would go on to become one of the most popular saints in the East and the West.

Saint Nicholas Candy

Facts 

In Saint Nicholas’s life, the line between fact and legend is blurred. Saint Nicholas protected anyone in need, especially orphans, poor families, sailors and prisoners. During the persecution of Christians in the Roman empire, Saint Nicholas was imprisoned for defending religious doctrine, later to be released under Constantine the Great. The reputation that followed Saint Nicholas gave way to legends that he performed miracles, a popular subject of medieval art and liturgical plays. 

Legends

One of the most popular legends of Saint Nicholas involves a family in need. In this story, he anonymously gave dowries to three young women whose father could not afford to marry them off, which would have led to a life of destitution. Another legend is that, during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he prayed during a storm that would have capsized the ship, causing the storm to let up and allowing the voyage to continue. This story helped secure his place as the patron saint of sailors. 

Santa Claus

Becoming Santa Claus

The first step to seeing how Saint Nicholas became Santa Claus is looking to the legends. Much of Europe celebrated Saint Nicholas as a benevolent gift giver. However, the legend that led to our Christmas traditions is the one of the poor man’s daughters. When Saint Nicholas threw gold into the house, it is said to have landed in stockings or shoes, which is the origin of the Christmas stocking. 

During the Reformation, the Netherlands began to celebrate St. Nicholas, calling him Sinterklass. They later brought this tradition to the U.S. The English-speaking country adapted “Sinterklass” to “Santa Claus.” In the 19th century, Saint Nicholas fully transformed into Santa Claus through written works and fables. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, we consider learning about all of the saints to be an essential part of a faith-based education. 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.

Fun Ways to Spend Thanksgiving Break as a Family

girl cooking

family at camp fire

Soon, your child will have a full week off from our Orlando private school to celebrate Thanksgiving. You may be tempted to allow your child to spend the entire break relaxing on their own. While some alone time is necessary, this week is the perfect opportunity to get together as a family. Travel and large gatherings may be out of the question, so we have gathered some ideas for spending quality time at home:

advent Christmas tree

Get Ready for Advent

Allow your child to participate in holiday preparation. Let them help put up decorations or shop for a tree. Have them take time to make lists of what they want for Christmas. As a family, get together to get a head start on writing cards. Depending on their creativity level, let your child create their own cards or write their own messages to friends and relatives. Advent will be here soon, and now is the best time to prepare. 

Unleash Creativity

During this inspiring holiday season, get creative with your child. Think of ways they can help with cooking and baking. Create themed DIY crafts with your child, whether it be handprint turkeys or gratitude jars. If you’re not worried about the quality, put your child in charge of taking family photos. Having pictures from a new perspective will be a great way to look back on the times you shared.

girl cooking

Spend Time as a Family

The best holiday memories are shared holiday memories. If you have a big backyard, play some football with your child or set up a backyard campout. The weather may be perfect for a bonfire, complete with s’mores. Staying indoors can be just as fun! Throw a family game night, dance party, or just a tech time out where you talk without devices in hand. Your child will appreciate the time you spend together.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. 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.

Meet St. Charles Borromeo

St. Charles Borromeo

Every year on November 4th, we get together to celebrate the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo. The namesake of our school, St. Charles Borromeo is the patron saint of bishops, catechists and other spiritual leaders. As one of the most important bishops of all time, he continues to inspire our mission to this day. At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, students from Pre-K to 8th grade learn how to live as St. Charles Borromeo did — with faith leading the way.

Early Life of St. Charles Borromeo

St. Charles Borromeo grew up in an aristocratic, wealthy family and the third of six children. At the age of 12, St. Charles Borromeo decided to dedicate his life to serving the church. The only money that interested him was what he needed for education and his work with the church. As a young adult, he worked as secretary of state for his uncle, Cardinal Gian Angelo de’Medici, also known as Pope Pius IV. St. Charles Borromeo helped draft a catechism and contributed to the reform of liturgical books and music, then became a bishop at the age of 25. 

St. Charles Borromeo communion

Accomplishments of St. Charles Borromeo

After becoming a bishop at such a young age, St. Charles Borromeo went on to become the first resident archbishop of Milan in 80 years. He founded a literary academy, colleges and other schools along the way. He gave most of his money to the poor, and he helped nurse and feed families during the plague. Along with helping his fellow man, he reorganized the diocese, established seminaries, enforced standards of morality and founded a confraternity to teach Christian doctrine to children. This was not popular with everyone, however, and an attempt was made on his life. 

Relatively unscathed after the assassination attempt, St. Charles Borromeo went on to work in Switzerland to help combat witchcraft and other heretical teachings. He died in 1584 at the age of 46, and Pope John XXIII dedicated a feast to him later that year. In 1610, St. Charles Borromeo officially became a saint. 

Celebrate the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo

There are several ways to celebrate the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo. The most popular, of course, is to eat. In honor of the patron saint of Italy, it is customary to eat an Italian meal. Cook together as a family, allowing your child to participate in making the food to honor this saint. Tell his story to your children so they can appreciate the rich background of their school. 

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. 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 Help Your Child Choose the College that’s Right for Them

Notre Dame University

Choosing a college can be overwhelming, and it helps to know where to start. The United States alone has almost 5,000 higher education institutions — ranging from two-year and four-year schools to private nonprofits to public schools. Plenty of factors will weigh into your child’s future education: location, student population, programs offered, even whether to continue an Orlando Catholic school education. Whether your child is a freshman or a rising junior, it’s never too early to help them start planning for the future.

Location

Find out if your child wants to relocate and how far she wants to go. Local options may seem easier and more affordable, but sometimes moving out-of-state creates a better college experience. Consider the campus itself and the surrounding area. Use virtual tours to help narrow down the options, and visit the colleges that make the most sense.

Student Life

Going to college is like entering a new world, one where daily life will completely change. Student newspapers and social media are great sources for insight into campus culture. When possible, ask students about their personal experiences. Look up data like retention rates per year and graduation rates. This will give you an idea of how many students have an enjoyable experience at the school.

Programs

Look at which programs are available to help your child start her college journey. See which programs are emphasized, both inside and outside of the classroom. Most colleges allow students to take classes before declaring a major, and more times than not, majors change. Student organizations can enhance a student’s experience moving toward her future career and help her meet others with shared interests. 

Why Catholic College

With so many options available, narrowing the list down to Catholic colleges may be a safe bet. At these private colleges, expect smaller class sizes, a focus on individual students, and staff that prepare students for fulfilling careers. Catholic schools also provide an environment for spiritual growth, and students and faculty often share beliefs and values. This could lead to a more comfortable learning environment for your child. 

Your child has a difficult, sometimes stressful decision to make about their secondary education, but  with support from family and trusted advisors, the choice becomes easier. At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, we build up our students to prepare them for high school, college and beyond. 

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic School located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. 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.

Apps for Children and Teens

Help Your Children Stay Connected to Church with These Digital Tools

girl and boy on phones

In today’s ever-changing world, we are always looking for new ways to connect. Every day, we use the Internet to keep us on track. Children and teenagers are no different. While in-person Sunday school and church services may not be available, consider these online options to keep your child connected to God. 

SunScool logo

SunScool

In 1958, missionaries Bert and Wendy Gray found a girl living in a remote village in Ireland who wanted to learn about God but had no access to Sunday School. Ever since, the couple has been creating accessible Bible lessons for children. The Grays adapted their lessons to modern times by creating the SunScool app. This app incorporates play and critical thinking with Sunday school teachings using word puzzle games, quizzes and coloring pages. Along with this app, available on Apple and Android, you can download the paper course called Bibletime for free at besweb.com

Life Teen

Life Teen is a one-stop online shop for teenagers and their families to form deeper relationships with Jesus Christ and His Church. While the website primarily sells spiritual growth programs, it also provides several free resources. Your teen can read relatable blogs with titles like “Step Up Your Friend Game” and “25 Ways to Keep Dating Simple,” or follow Life Teen on social media for inspirational quotes, images and videos. The Life Teen team believes that teenagers who encounter Christ through the beauty of the Catholic faith will change the world, and their goal is to guide teens on that journey. 

teen on phone with coffee

Staying Connected to Faith

While we work together to navigate the new normal, apps and websites can help keep families on track. Motivating children and teens can be challenging, especially with daily changes in the outside world. However, with the help of resources like SunScool and Life Teen, families can work together to build and sustain a strong connection to God. 

At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, we educate our students to excel in the modern world. We build our students up to focus on following their faith, and sometimes that means adapting to the times.

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic School located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. 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.

Say a Prayer While Washing Hands

Your child’s safety and health has reached new heights this year. Handwashing has likely become tiresome for your child, and his hands may be peeling because of it. Continue warding off germs with gospel words and songs to remind your child that although germs are everywhere, so is Jesus. Cleanliness is Godliness, after all

Healing the Sick
Praise God while praying for your health and the health of those in your community. Offer your prayers to the sick by asking God to use His healing to give comfort and strength to them. In Psalm 103 of the Scripture, verses 2–3 reads, “Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget his gifts, who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills.”

“Amazing Grace”
This classic song is everybody’s favorite. It’s easier to become fearful during a time like this. With lyrics like, “‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved,” this hymn will remind and reassure your child that God is taking care of his safety and security. 


“The Lord’s Prayer”
When Jesus’s disciples asked him how to pray, he responded with “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s likely that you and your child know the words by heart. Keep the tradition alive by reciting the words to cleanse not only your child’s hands but his mind and soul. Lines like, “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” gives your child hope that God will not harm him.

Blessing Healthcare Workers
Your and your child can give your blessings to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. You can make your own prayer by simply saying, “Bless are all the healthcare workers, those who hold the heaviness of life and death. May God protect you during this.”

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. 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.

Ways to Volunteer from Home

Service is a major part of the Catholic religion. Therefore, at St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, our curriculum emphasizes ways to give back to the community. We have developed a list of ways your child can volunteer even while social distancing at home!

Coronavirus Care Packages
Contact your local homeless shelter to check in. Ask the shelter if they need any coronavirus supplies for their residents to remain safe, including masks, hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfectant cleaners, and more. You can even make coronavirus care packages for anyone who is homeless that you may meet outside!

Grocery Bags
Some families are not visiting the grocery store right now or may be dealing with a financial crisis. Whether you’d like to visit the store or use a shopping service, donating grocery bags is an essential way of giving back to those in need. Fill the bags up with healthy and nutritious foods that can help combat viruses! Find a food bank near you on Feeding America’s website.

Adopt a Family
Adopt a family with children and have your child present during the process. Search for families online or through a faith group. Shop for the families and send them presents during the holidays! Online shopping makes it easier to stay safe with no-contact delivery. Demonstrating this sort of kindness teaches your child to be compassionate and loving towards other families that may be less fortunate.

Healthcare Contributions
In the event a person becomes sick, they may not have access to healthcare. Some healthcare centers may be unable to accommodate the growing patient population. Help ensure a healthy outcome for patients by paying for a bill or donating to agencies that collect funds for the low-income. Teach your child that a small gesture like this can have a life-impacting result!

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. 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. To help provide the very best Catholic education to students — present and future, please consider contributing a gift to our Spirit of Giving Annual Fund. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Fire Safety for Kids

A fire is an event that you can never expect. Taking precautions in the home and implementing an escape plan in advance can help protect your family. Stay safe from fires by teaching your child these tips for fire safety!

Fire Escape Plan
To create a fire escape plan, you must be sure that there are at least two ways to get out of each room, such as a door or window. Make sure there is a specific spot in front of or behind your home for you and your family to meet when you get outside of the house. Sometimes children hide when they are scared, so you must thoroughly explain that going outside and getting to safety is the best option. Remember: Only call 911 once you escape from the danger zone.

Introduce Firefighters
Teach your child about what firefighters do. Explain that their role is to help put out fires, assist in other types of emergencies, and help people get to safety. This will familiarize them with the firefighters and make them feel more comfortable if they are ever to be around. Arrange a meeting with a firefighter who can chat with your child. Come prepared with questions, and make it a fun interaction for your child so he won’t be scared.

Reading Material
Reading books about fire safety can bring comfort to your child. When he sees some of his favorite characters are implementing fire safety protocols, he will likely want to do the same. Take, for example, The Berenstain Bears visiting a firehouse. Or if your child loves dragons, we recommend “No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (And Dragons).” The story follows a young girl who meets a fire-breathing dragon and invites him for tea. After he accidentally sets the table ablaze, the little girl sprung into action. In the end, she was a hero, which will inspire your child to also remember what to do in case of a fire. Books like these are a gentle way to inform your child about scary topics.

Firefighter Coloring Book
Coloring books are an excellent way to deliver lessons to your child, and connect creativity to an important situation. There are many books you can purchase, such as this Firefighter Coloring Book that will allow your child to learn even more about fire safety, while also having fun. You can also let them trace printouts of fire trucks and firefighters!

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. 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.