Christian schools don’t restrain celebration |

Christian schools don’t restrain celebration

Nicole Frey
NWS Xmas St. Clare2 BH 12-13

EAGLE COUNTY- As public schools walk the line of political correctness during the holiday season, private schools are welcome to celebrate to their hearts’ content. When they take their two-week vacation at the end of the month, it will for Christmas, not winter break. Edwards’ St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School, which serves students of various Christian denominations, is currently celebrating Advent, the time of preparation before Christmas, said principal Peggy Warner. The school displays purple – the Advent color – and candles and wreathes also serve to observe the time.”It’s a very joyous mood of preparation – preparing our hearts and our minds for the birth of Jesus,” Warner said. Later in the month, the school with decorate for Christmas, including a Nativity scene and each class will decorate its “scared space” – an area set aside for prayers and spirituality.

At the Vail Christian High School, affiliated with Gracious Savior Lutheran Church, the Christmas tree is decorated with crosses, and Santa Claus graces classroom doors. “It’s different (from public schools) in how we can celebrate, and we do stay focused on the birth of Christ,” Principal Linda Isbel said. Although it is a Christian school, Vail Christian students also study other religions. “We think it’s really important for our students to understand other religions,” Isbel said. “They need to understand why they believe what they believe, because they’re going to meet it out there.”Having taught in public schools, Isbel said, she has seen both sides of the coin and she’s convinced private schools have the upper hand.

“We really have the opportunity to address the entire student on all levels, as far as academic, athletics and spirituality,” she said.”All schools should have Christian celebrations,” Warner added. “They should celebrate the person for who they are – the physical side, the mental or emotional side and the spiritual side.”Even some public school educators are cautiously lamenting the lack of religion in schools. Battle Mountain High School principal Brian Hester said although he can’t promote the holidays, he also can’t prohibit his students from doing it.”So Merry Christmas is fine with me and various little decorations,” Hester said. “It’s an important part of history and human development. We do have a heavily Judeo-Christian heritage, and we’re not going to shy away from that. “Yes, we acknowledge that this is the Christmas season and that that is part of our heritage as well as other religions.”

But as public schools race to cram craniums with required information, many educators are simply stating there isn’t time to focus on the holidays.”There are many things that children should be learning, but we’re not here to teach them everything, but rather to give them the tools,” Meadow Mountain Elementary School Principal Kathy Cummings said. “I think it’s good for people to know the backgrounds of what’s going on around them. If I had kids in school, I would take it upon myself.”Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or Vail, Colorado

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