Photo courtesy of Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

PORTLAND — This week, students, faculty, and staff at many Maine Catholic schools are celebrating 100 days of in-person learning during the 2020-21 academic year. The schools’ commitment to maintaining safe environments while adhering to strict protocols in order to provide in-person learning, five days a week, commands respect and deserves the accolades they are receiving.

On Thursday, students at St. James School in Biddeford dressed up as “100 year olds” to mark the occasion. St. John’s School in Brunswick had a slew of 100-themed activities, including 100 push-ups for eighth graders and 100 masks for first graders.

“We have 100 reasons or more to be thankful on this day,” said Shelly Wheeler, principal of St. John’s.

At St. Dom’s in Lewiston, kindergarteners started their day with 100 seconds of running in place, while All Saints Catholic School in Bangor held special “100 math activities” and a “dress like you’re 100” day.

“We are so proud to have 100 days of in-person instruction behind us and know that we can make it through the remainder of the school year and the upcoming year with all that we have learned,” said Matthew Houghton, principal of All Saints.  

“The efforts and dedication of our school communities have been lauded by not only the Church, but by the wider community,” said Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine Catholic schools. “Once again, our Catholic schools are shining examples of how faith, mutual respect, and preparation will always win the day. The children and their education are the beneficiaries of this diligence, and I can’t thank you enough.” 

“I wanted to extend my sincere gratitude to the students, school families, teachers, and staff for their continued vigilance in following our safety protocols to ensure the safest environment possible at our Catholic schools,” said Bishop Robert Deeley. “The very fact that they have made a heroic effort to provide in-person classroom education five days a week is a tribute to their wish to see our schools at the heart of the community of the Church. This has been a tremendous service to the parents and the families of our young people, and we are so proud of our school communities.”