Hello! Last year, I wrote to you in the “Back to School” issue of The Monitor about what my plans were as the new Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Trenton. My job, as I saw it, was two-fold: build on the successes that made our Catholic schools great, and work towards our students becoming even more service-oriented, if possible.

Well, I would like to think that we succeeded on both of those accounts.

Our Catholic schools remained open during a global pandemic and our programs, despite the circumstances, thrived under the “new normal.” Our academic scores held on to be very strong, our enrollments went up in many schools and our programs were filled with life. Our students were smiling and were happy to be in our schools on the many visits that I made to the schools and the events that I attended.

Furthermore, I was witness to an abundance of service in our schools – whether it was a formal service program like “diapers for newborns,” or canned food collections around the holidays, or children just showing true kindness to their fellow students who were struggling during the day.  I have been a witness to many examples of one student helping another student that might have been struggling with issues of the pandemic, sickness, loss of a loved one or even the stress of the day. Stories like this make me, as a Catholic educator, so proud that our Catholic values and spirit are coming through in the students in our Catholic school programs.

The 2021-2022 school begins again, under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks are mandated in the schools, social distancing is still being applied, and students are still having their lives disrupted by the constant threat of this deadly virus. Having said that, our schools again this year are up to the challenges we are facing. Our teachers, selfless and dedicated, are willing to do whatever is necessary to make our mission of Catholic education come alive in the classrooms. Our administrators are dedicated to creating the most safe and secure environment possible for Catholic learning to be nurtured and delivered. As tough as the circumstances may look, the future is so very bright because of our Catholic schools’ commitment to their students and your children.

The job of the Superintendent this year continues to be two-fold: keep the Catholic mission alive in our schools and keep these schools open with safe and secure environments. I am encouraged and excited about what the schools collectively have planned for this school year. It should be an outstanding year filled with faith opportunities, academic growth, social development and fun (despite the pandemic).

Please take a moment and say a prayer every day for the end to this global pandemic and in thanksgiving for the continued blessing of the communities within our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton.

The mission of Catholic education continues stronger each day, and with parent support, we will continue to deliver and forge the future of our faith with our students understanding the Gospel, living a life of service to others and becoming true disciples of Christ.

Thank you for your constant support of our Catholic schools.

With Warmest Regards,

Vincent de Paul Schmidt, Ed.D