Catholic schools ready to ‘walk the talk’ at Steps for Students

February 8, 2011

HOUSTON — Since the inaugural Steps for Students in 2006, participants and sponsors from across the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston have stepped up year after year to show their support for Catholic schools.

"The growth of Steps for Students over the years has been outstanding and a joy to watch," said Sister Kevina Keating, CCVI, Superintendent of Catholic Schools. "It is thanks to all our excellent school and community supporters for their sterling commitment and support. Each one's presence or investment tells us loudly that people believe in and treasure our Catholic schools. They are a treasure indeed."

This year's Steps for Students 5K Run and Walk welcomes a number of familiar schools back into the racing fray, along with a few new faces amidst the sea of people anticipated to be present Feb. 19 at Robertson Stadium on the University of Houston campus.

Holy Family School in Galveston will take part in the annual event for the first time this year.

"Our goal is to help raise the awareness of the importance and value of a Catholic education," said David Sottili, the school's Steps for Students organizer. "We want to join the Archdiocese in supporting Catholic education through participation in this event."

St. Theresa School in Houston participated in Steps since the beginning, but jumped onboard full-tilt last year when an upsurge of families registered for the race. The "fun factor" delivered strongly with the school, prompting St. Theresa faculty members to generate awareness for the 2011 event throughout the current academic year. Now, the community is ready to lace up and hit the ground running all over again.

Four weeks away from race day, St. Theresa had 255 participants registered for the race, representing more than 80 percent of the families and staff.

"Though Steps for Students is a concrete way to support our schools financially, equally important is the opportunity to show-up … and to literally ‘walk the talk' about how much we as an Archdiocesan community believe in our schools and in what they are doing for our students," said Sandra Derby, St. Theresa principal. "It is nothing less than inspiring to see so many gathered in support of Catholic education."

Sacred Heart School in Crosby has more than 90 participants registered for the annual Archdiocesan event.

"Steps for Students is a wonderful event that showcases Catholic Schools," said Susan Harris, Sacred Heart principal. "I believe it's a great opportunity for parishes and school communities to come together. It's a time where individual schools can step outside of [their] community and show others the spirit and support of [their] own school community."

Like many other Archdiocesan Catholic schools, Harris said Sacred Heart has several creative activities underway promoting participation in Steps, including a pep rally and incentive-based promotions like free dress day.

"I believe Steps for Students is not only a commitment to Catholic education but to a healthy lifestyle," she said. "It provides families and friends in our schools and community an opportunity to participate in an activity that shows we are committed to the whole person."
An event like Steps for Students serves as a reminder of the role Catholic schools play, not just in the future of a parishes, "but the future of the Universal Church and beyond," according to Sottili.

"I attended a Catholic elementary and high school at a hardship for my parents, and their sacrifice did more to prepare me for my future than anything else I can imagine," he said. "The value of a Catholic education, which lasts a lifetime and impacts many others, is what Steps for Students is all about and why I think it is so important."

"Catholic Schools belong to all of us," Derby said, "not just those parishes who have schools or to those parents who choose to send their children to [a] Catholic school. Catholic schools are a ministry of the whole Church and benefit the whole Church. Participation in an event such as Steps for Students is one way for the Church of Galveston-Houston — all of us — to concretely and visibly support our schools."

"With every step of the race, with every sponsoring donation, every member of this Archdiocese can be part of the great teaching and evangelizing ministry of the Church." †