Everyday Evangelization: A series of Catholic school stories
This is the first of what will become a regular series of blog posts about Catholic Schools as centers of evangelization within families.
My name is Maniah Dyche. I am an eighth grader at St. Cecilia. I have four siblings, but they don’t go to this school. Over my years at St. Cecilia, I have learned so much! When I arrived at St. Cecilia in fifth grade, I wasn’t Catholic then. I am now, and we’ll talk about that later.
This Catholic school has helped me serve in so many ways, serving my community, family and school. Every day our religion teacher asks us, “Who should we pray for?” and I usually say the poor and my grandpa, who has cancer. Religion class has given me a whole new perspective on the world.
When I was younger and my friends always got better grades, I would think, “I am never going to success like they do.” Now when I feel that way, I say to myself, “proof you can improve.” I learned to think this way because of my teachers. I became a better student because of them and have learned to study more.
In elementary school, I don’t think I even knew the word teamwork. Now I have learned that to be a leader, you need to have followers, you have to inspire people to want to follow you, but it’s also about teamwork. This year I am doing a project for history day with a partner and we are working together as a team. I am also always having fun; that’s also important.
Most importantly, St. Cecilia has given me an opportunity to lead my family into the Church. In sixth grade, I told my mom, “Mom, I want to be Catholic.” When she asked why, I said, “mom, I want to be able to altar serve like the other girls.” She told me to think about that for another year. In seventh grade, I said, “Mom I want to be Catholic.” When she asked why, I said, “So I can serve and receive confirmation and go to a Catholic high school.” She said again, “ask again next year.” In eighth grade, I said, “Mom, I want to become Catholic.” When she asked why, I took a second to think and answered, “I believe I belong to the Catholic faith. I feel God is calling me, and also because I want to live out the faith through our family.”
At a school Mass in November, I was baptized and received my first communion with my school and my family present to welcome me. I was confirmed later in November with my class. And this very year, my whole family is becoming Catholic on Easter! St. Cecilia enabled me to lead my family into the Catholic faith.
I became friends with everyone in my class in sixth grade and started getting involved in extracurriculars like soccer, basketball, volleyball, track and later on, cross country. I am in operetta this year because my friend Caroline gave me the confidence to try out. I’ve met all of my best friends here. A couple of weeks ago when I was altar serving, I messed up in front of all my friends. That Monday at school, everyone had their laughs, but no one was making fun of me. They told me, “we still love you.” St. Cecilia is like my second family. This is what Catholic schools are all about. Thank you to everyone who supports St. Cecilia school and all Catholic schools.
Thank you, Maniah, for sharing your story. Has your school helped strengthen your faith? Email Bbonczynski@archomaha.org.