Franciscan Sister Carol Seidl shares about the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School, Casa Grande, Arizona.

The 5th of August we welcomed 179 students to St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Casa Grande, AZ. In Arizona, you don’t wait for the summer weather to cool down and start after Labor Day because September is still in the 100 degree range. The students were happy to come back and after two weeks of school almost everyone is back in routine. As a mother of two children said as she dropped them off at school the first day back “This is the happiest day for me- summer vacation is over! ”

There is a severe shortage of teachers in Arizona. I was not able to hire a PE or a Music teacher so I flipped a coin and decided to teach PE this year which I have done when I was in Ohio, Mississippi, Hawaii and Sierra Vista, Arizona as well. Tuesday is PE day for Kindergarten -8th grades. I combined some grades to get them all in the one day. So far everyone is enjoying the class, getting exercise and I now wear my very best tennis shoes so my feet aren’t tired by the end of the day.

As a principal and teacher I follow one of my grandmother’s favorite phrases “Jack of All Trades”. The end of the day I check off names as some of our students take the bus back to Eloy about a 25 minute drive from our school.

The Diocese of Tucson has a lot of international priests to help out with the priest shortage. Our new Associate Pastor is Fr. Callistus who is from Nigeria. His friend, seminarian Peter Gmmanuel, came to visit him. He is also from Nigeria and has been studying at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He has finished his studies at the seminary and is now waiting for ordination. His Bishop has asked him to be in charge of the schools on two of the islands in the Caribbean – the island of St. Vincent and the island of Grenadines. He told us there is much poverty on these islands. He came to visit our school to get ideas. He wants the best Catholic education for these children.

Blessings on all teachers, principals and students during this new school year!