Students and staff, along with the community will celebrate with a number of activities throughout the week.
The community is welcome to celebrate with the Gehlen Catholic family during Catholic Schools Week. * Activities will start Monday, Jan. 28, with an 8:45 a.m. CSW Liturgy in the St. Joseph Church. Presider will be the Rev. Shane Deman with teacher Mary Renner honored for her more than 25 years of service and remarks by Opportunity Unlimited President/CEO, Stephanie Brown.
* Tuesday, Jan. 29, is faculty/staff appreciation day.
Tuesday is also eighth grade registration day and along with tours for Spalding Catholic families.
* Wednesday activities begin with the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Coffee from 9:30-10:30 p.m.
Special guests at the coffee will be the Rev. Terry Roder, president, Spalding Catholic School; Lisa Hamerlinck, principal, Spalding Catholic School; and Dan Goebel, development and enrollment management director, Spalding Catholic School.
The Peter Gehlen luncheon will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday
* Thursday features the Family Picnic in the Reardon Family Gym from noon to 12:45 p.m.
* Friday is Student Appreciation Day with Blessing, Dads and Pancakes, and activities.
"I have always held, and continue to hold, the conviction that Catholic schools are a tremendous gift and opportunity in passing on our Catholic faith and traditions to our children, said Gehlen Catholic President, the Rev. Kevin Richter.
He is a graduate of Spalding Catholic School.
"Catholic schools provide a values-based education that emphasizes intellectual, spiritual, moral, physical and social values in our students. Catholic schools have a far-reaching impact on shaping the world, whether it is through our student's support of our parishes, community, local and international missions to our alumni's chosen ministries years after their graduation," Richter continued.
As part of the celebration of the unification of Gehlen and Spalding Catholic High Schools, the Leon and Ruth Meis family have been selected as this year's gift bearers for the Catholic Schools Week Liturgy.
Four generations of the Meis family have graduated or are attending Gehlen and Spalding Catholic Schools.
* Leon Meis is a 1950 graduate of St. Joseph, Gehlen Catholic's predecessor. His wife, Ruth (Henrich), is a 1951 graduate of Spalding Catholic. Ruth died unexpectedly this past summer. They had four children who all attended Spalding Catholic School.
* Leon and Ruth's daughter, Kris is a 1977 graduate of Spalding. She is married to Bill Koopman, a 1972 graduate of Gehlen Catholic. Their children all attended Gehlen Catholic School.
* Kris and Bill's daughter, Mindy, is a 1997 graduate of Gehlen Catholic. Mindy's husband, Toby Scheitler, is a 1997 graduate of St. Mary's in Remsen. Mindy is also Gehlen Catholic's business manager.
* Mindy and Toby have three daughters, Josie, Ella and Brea. Josie is a second grader and Ella is a kindergartener, both at Gehlen Catholic.
2013 marks the 40th celebration of Catholic Schools Week, a joint project of the National Catholic Education Association and the United States Catholic Conference on Bishops.
Gehlen Catholic School is one of 16 Catholic school systems in the Diocese of Sioux City and 7,378 Catholic schools in the United States dedicated to educating and preparing students for a Christian life.
This year's theme is "Catholic Schools, Raise the Standards!"
The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) explained this year's theme.
"The 2013 theme supports the recent launch of National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, that ensure the effective operation and responsible governance Catholic schools across the country, thus promoting high academic standards and Catholic identity," according to a press release.
The logo designed for the week illustrates a chart of steady growth culminating the highest achievement of all, a cross representing the faith that underscores all Catholic education, the press release explained.
Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the diocese of Sioux City added, "Catholic schools exist to transmit the faith to the next generation of Catholics ... Our schools serve our parishes as one of the strongest evangelization tools."
He asked that Catholics please keep their Catholic schools in their prayers during this week of celebration.