The Days of Holy Week

holy-week-cross

To mark the end of Lent, Christians celebrate Holy Week to commemorate the final days of Jesus’ life and His resurrection. Each day has its own significance and is celebrated differently. Take time with your child to help him understand the meaning of each of these days. Here is a guide to Holy Week from an Orlando Catholic school:

Palm Sunday

The sixth and final Sunday in Lent is known as Palm Sunday. This commemorates Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. To celebrate, churchgoers wave palm branches like the crowds of the time. Showing humility and fulfilling a prophecy, Jesus rode in on a donkey. On this Sunday, crowds observing Passover in Jerusalem proclaimed Jesus the messianic king. In some churches, worshippers wear crosses made of palm fronds. Palm Sunday is also referred to as “Passion Sunday,” because “passion” comes from a Latin word meaning “to suffer.”

Holy Thursday

The first day of the shortest liturgical season, the Easter Triduum, is Holy Thursday. This day commemorates the last day before Jesus was arrested. To represent the Last Supper, churches celebrate the Last Supper Mass and the last Communion before Easter. Other events include the betrayal of Judas and Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Certain sects refer to this day as “Maundy Thursday,” with “maundy” meaning “to give,” “to entrust,” or “to order.” Aside from giving Communion, churches celebrate with the ceremonial washing of feet, just as Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles this night. After Mass, the tabernacle empties out, and the hosts move to another location for adoration. The church is truly empty during these days of remembrance leading up to the Easter Vigil. 

Good Friday

On this day of Holy Week, Christians do not celebrate but take time for reflection, honoring the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made. Good Friday commemorates the arrest, trial, crucifixion, suffering, death and burial of Jesus Christ. No one hosts a Mass celebration on this day anywhere in the world, rather a musicless, dimly lit gathering and sometimes a Communion service. There are a couple ways this day is observed. Eat church will have a Veneration of the Cross, where worshippers bow before or kiss a large cross. This is also a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means we eat smaller meals for breakfast and lunch with a normal sized dinner and not eating between meals. Abstinence means we avoid meat on this day. 

Easter Vigil and Easter

On Saturday, day 7 of Holy Week, Christians practice quiet meditation while remembering the faithful and honoring martyrs. Catholic churches host a candlelight vigil after sundown that begins outside the church with a fire and the blessing of the Easter Candle. All at once during Mass the lights in the Church will come on and we will sing Alleluia as Jesus has risen from the dead and conquered death! Then, all day Sunday, worshippers celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. The music, communion, and celebratory nature return. After church, families get together for brunch, Easter egg hunts, and dinner, traditionally serving lamb to mark the end of Lent. At our Orlando Catholic school, we believe Holy Week is important for children to observe and understand.

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.

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.

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.

Continuing a Catholic Education Through High School

Choosing the right type of school for your child is a difficult decision. Religious schools like St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, recommend students continue a Catholic education throughout grade school. Here’s why a Catholic education is important, and how your child can prepare for the transition into high school.

Benefits of Catholic School
Many families choose Catholic schools because of the intimate class size experience, strong and challenging academics, and their focus on students as whole, remarkable humans. These are six key benefits of your child attending a Catholic school:

  1. Your child is more likely to graduate from college. 
  2. Catholic school students have higher than average SAT scores when compared with students who attend other types of schools. With higher scores, your child will be able to attend a more competitive college and possibly receive more scholarships.
  3. Students at religious private schools receive higher math and reading scores on standardized tests. Your child will be prepared for the more challenging collegiate course load.
  4. Catholic schools are known to be less costly than other private schools. In fact, St. Charles Borromeo even offers financial aid, and participates in the Florida Tax Credit scholarship program.
  5. Our schools are service-oriented, teaching your child to focus on serving others as part of their education. Learning the value of volunteerism and being compassionate will help your child grow into a remarkable adult.


Preparing for the Transition
You and your child may be stressed at the thought of high school. Moving into a new grade level requires academic and emotional preparation in order to reduce the anxiousness as much as possible. Follow this guide to help your child be set up for success:

  1. It’s important to plan a visit to the future high school to get you and your child familiar and comfortable with the environment. The school likely offers orientation dates for newcomers that are listed on their website. Schedule a tour to get a feel of the classrooms, facility, and authority figures.
  2. Communicating with other parents and children is helpful, especially during orientation. Encourage your child to mingle with other children so he can make friends sooner. 
  3. Research the extracurricular activities the school provides so your child can choose in advance. Participating in extracurricular activities is a major part of the process that will help your child kickstart their hobbies and gain confidence.
  4. Designate a special study area in your home. Your child is going to be doing homework and studying more than before and it’s important they have a space where they feel like they can focus. 
  5. Your child will experience a considerable amount of emotional and physical growth in high school. It’s important to stay grounded yourself so you can continue being their guide through this pressuring time. As a parent, be sure to show empathy and support. Remind them that high school helped you get to where you are, and even share some good stories from your experience!

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, 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.

Teaching Your Child About Friendship

There are so many valuable lessons that your child can learn from making friends. St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, wants to help you teach your child how to be a good friend. It’s an important life skill your child should explore now, as it will help her develop not only socially but emotionally too. 

Talk About It
Start by telling your child what it is to be a good friend. Traits include being trustworthy, loyal, helping a friend when they are having problems, cheering them up when they are sad, keeping in touch, remembering birthdays, and more. Share a story about your childhood best friend and the ways that person brought joy to your life!

Lead By Example
Do you have a good friend in your life that plays as an example of a good friend? Your child looks up to you and mimics what you do in your life. Showcase that friendship and let your child know what makes it special. On your friend’s birthday, make them a card and have your child help. When neighbors move in, bake pastries with your child and take them there. It’s the little things that count!

Friendship in Films, TV Shows, and Books
Find books and movies that include plots about friendship — like friends overcoming difficult situations. For younger children, search stores for books like “How to Be a Friend: A Book About Friendship,” or “A Friend Like You” about Squirrel and Bird who are very different and strike an unlikely connection. For older children, the Harry Potter movies and books present many friendship lessons. Now, with the release of Disney+, your child can choose from a variety of options! Disney movies are all about friendship.

Role-Play
Role-play situations where someone may need a friend. Perhaps your child’s friend got a low grade on a test and you explain to your child how they should comfort them. Or teach them acts of love, such as sharing and compromising, which are the qualities that make friendships work.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, 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.

Finding God Through Fitness


Remember that God is everywhere. He is in the walk you take, the scripture you read, and within you. Faith is not just about nurturing your child’s spiritual health, but their physical health as well. Through fitness, your child will deepen their faith and take care of their temple (body).
Private schools in Orlando explain the connection between God and fitness.

Your Body Belongs to God
1 Corinthians 6:19 states, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” Honor your temple’s creator by taking care of it through healthy actions, such as working out and eating nutritious foods. By keeping your child’s body strong, he is able to keep going and serve others.

Serve Others
Jesus sacrificed and redeemed us from sin so that we can continue servicing others when He couldn’t. With a strong and healthy body, taking on this moral duty will come more easily. We use our legs to travel to places where God is and to share the joys of Him. We use our arms to carry the children we care for. Our strength is spiritual, mental, and physical.


Stay Alert
Keep your brain awake alert so you can delight in God. To better focus and understand the truth in God’s words, have your child start his day by doing some sort of exercise. As the difficulties of life kick in, continuing to exercise will help him embrace the heart of the Scripture. Even just two miles of walking per day gets the body and brain pumping. Encourage your child to join a sports team at school. Show him how to make it a habit to maintain his joy. Not only will he be in shape, but he’ll be paving the pathway to a deeper love for our heavenly Father.

St. Charles Borromeo, one of the best private schools in 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.

The Benefits of Band and Choir

At St. Charles Borromeo, one of the best Catholic schools in Orlando, we highly encourage students to participate in band and choir. These classes have many benefits for your child, including making a connecting between spirituality and music. Here’s why your child should join the school’s band or choir!

Making Connections
Sometimes making friends at school is hard. By joining classes like band and choir, your child is able to interact with her peers and build friendships. In doing so, it also encourages teamwork. Band and choir teach teamwork skills, according to the National Association of Music Parents. When she’s performing, your child and her new friends come together and collaborate their individual talents. Being able to work with others is a skill that your child will take beyond school, making it useful in future careers and relationships.

Happy Brain, Happy Child
Playing music helps children and teenagers make new neurological connections. When your child listens to the music he plays, dopamine is released in his brain. Music releases powerful emotions. There is a pleasure that comes from listening to music you enjoy, identify with, or find familiar, such as when a certain song is linked to a memory. When your child is among her new friends — singing or playing music — it will induce a shared emotional experience. This experience should help your child be more excited about going to school and feel happier overall. These feelings have been known to lead to better grades!

Music and Religion
Music is a part of religion. Music, in its purest sense, is religion — and vice versa! Let us remember: After escaping from the Egyptians, the people of Israel sang a song to the Lord (Exod. 15). The tune, “Song of the Sea,” is linked to Israel’s passing through the sea. Music is the universal language of the soul and a code of life. So as far back as we can read in the Bible, music was there. What better way to bring your child closer to God?

St. Charles Borromeo, one of the Catholic schools in 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.

Back-to-School Organization

Back-to-school season can be chaotic and stressful. Taking the time to implement organizational tactics in advance can help calm the storm. These tips from St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, will help the transition back to school smoother.

Build a Workstation
To keep your children motivated, designate a work area where they feel comfortable and focused. Allowing them to do their homework anywhere can lead to bad habits and lack of commitment. Don’t allow games, television, phones, or snacks at their desk.

Create a Calendar
Create a calendar or command station that lists schedules, class assignments, lunch menus, after-school activities, meetings, and more. All you need is a dry erase board and some creativity. Color code each family member’s activity, and use large enough boxes to list all tasks. Place it in a central location in your home, such as the kitchen where families spend a lot of their time. 

Regain Routine
Say goodbye to the lazy days of summer before school actually starts. Ease your children back into a routine before school actually starts by having them go to bed early and set alarms in the morning. Gradually phasing into the school schedule will make the start of the new year easier. Talk to them about it prior to school starting so they can know what to expect and maybe even get excited. Do a run-through of the schedule a week before school starts and smooth out any trouble areas.

Positive Preparation
Create good habits that avoid the morning madness. Teach your children to lay out their clothing the night before, and pack lunches and fill their water bottles. Go the extra mile by tagging the clothes and food for each day of the week. Create a send-off station by the front door where keys, backpacks, music instruments, and other items are ready to go the next day. 

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, 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.

Why Choose St. Charles Borromeo

On March 31, 1954, a parish was established in College Park and named St. Charles Borromeo. Less than a year later on January 24, 1955, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School opened as a junior high school. With an initial enrollment of 65 students in grades 7, 8, and 9, we’ve grown substantially over the years and now teach over 300 students. While our numbers may have grown, we’re proud to offer the same exceptional education that has made us a pillar in the Catholic community.

After Hurricane Michael hit, our fourth graders wanted to help and hosted a bake sale to aid those in need. All proceeds went to Catholic Charities of Central Florida to assist with the recovery efforts from Hurricane Michael.

A Blue Ribbon School
On October 2, 2007, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School was named by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2007 Blue Ribbon School, one of only 287 in the nation to receive this honor.

Parent Partnerships
Parents are the primary educators of their children, and we believe that it’s truly a privilege to be a part of each student’s learning experience. We are proud to partner with you to help your child grow into a confident, capable member of society.

Academics
We offer a challenging, rigorous curriculum that challenges students to embrace their full potential, gives them a solid academic foundation, and helps them develop their God-given talents. Our instructors create a safe, comfortable, and healthy learning environment. In this environment, students have the opportunity to grow into enthusiastic, lifelong learners. Teachers get to know each student as an individual and offer differentiated instruction, understanding that students learn in a variety of ways.  

Our National Junior Honor Society members went on a service trip to Clean the World in Orlando.

Athletics
Thanks to our partnership with Catholic Youth Sports, students are encouraged to participate in a variety of athletic activities from Kindergarten through 8th grade! Sports and team participation teach valuable lessons that are crucial to future success, such as leadership, teamwork, communication, self-discipline.

Faith
Our students’ spiritual health is one of our top priorities. Faith is truly incorporated into our daily lives. Between religion classes, monthly and weekly Mass, retreats, daily prayer, and serving the world around us, St. Charles students learn that faith is more than words; it’s about the social responsibility we have as Catholics. We must show others the love of Christ every day.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, 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.

Teacher Spotlight: Margaret Borello

Kindergarten teacher Margaret Borello loves being a part of the family at St. Charles Borromeo! Get to know her and how she brings her passion and experience to our institution.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Pittsburgh, PA. At the age of 10, my family relocated to Fort Lauderdale. I remained in South Florida until three years ago when we moved to Lake Mary.

From what school did you graduate? What was your major?
I received my Bachelors of Arts Degree from Stetson University. I was a music major at first but then changed to Elementary Education. Years later, I received my Master’s degree from Barry University in Educational Leadership!

What do you like to do for fun?
I am a lucky mother of three wonderful daughters and a blessed grandmother of three incredible grandsons! My youngest daughter [just gave] me my first granddaughter, and my eldest blessed me with another grandson for Thanksgiving. My favorite thing to do is to be with these babies.

Do you have a favorite book?
My favorite book to read when I was young was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I enjoy the Harry Potter series and one of my favorite books is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

What did you want to be when you were little?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. For a brief time, I had dreams of being a pop singer, but I always knew I would teach in some way! I’ve been teaching for 30 years, and I’ve taught everything from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade (excluding fourth). I’ve had the pleasure of training and working with teachers through Nova Southeastern University as an Early Childhood Training Facilitator, and I’ve also substituted for high school.

Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
I think my favorite teacher was Mr. Hudson in the fifth grade. He made math so much fun that the “light bulb” finally went off and I got it! However, my inspiration was my music teacher in middle school, Mr. Mel Arnold. He was an incredible musician and loved sharing his gift with his students. In his spare time, he taught music therapy to special needs students. He gave me my first flute — it was his when he began playing.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching kindergarten?
I love to teach kindergarten because of the excitement the children bring to school. They can’t wait to learn, and you can literally see when they understand something for the first time. I try to engage my students with activity, music, and movement. I want my students to not only learn the curriculum but most importantly gain a love for learning. If they love it, there is no stopping them!

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the joy in my students’ faces when they’ve mastered a concept for the first time, or written their first story, or even when they have met a new friend.

What do you hope your students take away from being in your classroom?
I hope my students leave my classroom with a love of learning, a yearning for more, and a kinder heart!

As a College Park 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.