News: Loyal-St. Anthony’s Catholic School (Sister Joan - 1975)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Weigel, McKenna

----Source: Tribune Record Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co., WI) 1/30/1975

Loyal-St. Anthony’s Catholic School (Sister Joan Weigel - 1975)

Mingling with Mary (By Mary Woods)

Principal of St. Anthony’s Catholic School, Sister Joan Weigel

Throughout the week of February 2 – 8 many activities will take place at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and school as part of Catholic Schools Week. The week has been set aside for informing parents, parishioners, visitors, and the public about the Catholic Schools in the area, and in a deeper respect, the meaning of the week’s slogan, “Different Where It Counts.” To better inform the readers about the week’s activities, an interview with St. Anthony’s principal, Sister Joan was arranged, and the meaning and the plans for the week were discussed.

Joining the staff of St. Anthony’s in 1967, Sister Joan had previously taught at St. Ann’s in Stanley. She stated her final vows in 1956 at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, as a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Sister Joan state that many changes have occurred in the school since she began, including the dropping of seventh and eighth grades from the school which took place in 1968. The students were transferred to the loyal Public School with hopes that he better facilities in science and language arts would be of benefit, and no doubt have proven to be.

Commenting on the relationship between the public school and the Catholic School, Sister Joan notes that both schools work towards excellence and both cooperate in trying to achieve such goals. “Although we both challenge each other in an underlying matter, the dual cooperation and working conditions can be no better.” Some of the programs that are shared by the schools are the music, special education, and learning disabilities programs.

Further discussing the Catholic School for the elementary education, Sister Joan notes that the slogan, “Different Where It Counts” pertains to the religious education that a student receives at the school. “In teaching the religious classes, and carrying out numerous programs at the school, we try to give the students an outlook on religion and put into action a theme of kindness, love, and concern for all individuals.”

Commenting on the same topic of a Catholic Education, Father Chester, pastor for St. Anthony’s, states in an interview, “We not only prepare out students for the immediate future or goals that they have, but stress their spiritual destiny in life, and ultimate purpose … God’s Kingdom.”

Turning to the week’s activities, Sister Joan notes, “In recent years the attitude and choice of parents regarding Catholic schools is more and more evident. When parents send their children to a Catholic school, that is no longer a result of pastoral mandate but rather of thoughtful and informed decision making, and this is the purpose of Catholic Schools week-informing everyone about the goals of the school and the nature of their programs, and the result, and the need to convince people that Catholic schools are, ‘Different Where It Counts.’ Parents have a right and duty to insist that there be a difference, and throughout the week St. Anthony’s will emphasize religious formation and value learning.”

This week will begin with the Loyal mayor, Dave McKenna, and parish council members meeting all the children in their classroom. Tuesday evening the regular monthly Board of Education meeting will be held. Wednesday morning a half day of renewal for grades fourth, fifth, and sixth is planned when children will rotate to different areas of the school for their activities, and throughout the week parents and parishioners are invited to attend class masses at 8:15 a.m. in which the children are involved in the masses on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Thursday is set aside for Student Appreciation Day when a special treat is to be served to the children, and on Friday, Teacher Appreciation Day will be held with parents supervising the children during the noon hour while pastor, teachers, and teacher aides enjoy lunch together. The busiest day of the week will be Sunday6, Feb. 2, when the children will be involved at all three masses, including Saturday evening. Also involved in the mass will Board of Education members. After the three masses, an open house for parishioners and members of the community will be held with tours of the classrooms, library, curriculum library, and science room given by the older pupils.

Posters have also been put up in many Loyal business places.

For Sister Joan, happiness and the feeling of achievement not only comes from being the principal at the school, but also by being a member of the Loyal community. “I know of no greater treasure than that which I have received during the past six years in Loyal when the opportunities to know, and work with so many beautiful people has been given to me, and borrowing the slogan from another city, I’ve discovered that ‘Loyal’s Got It’. None of the accomplishments or goals could have been achieved without the dedication and concern of the of the parish, and the community in the past and all who have supported and sustained St. Anthony’s School,” expressed Sister Joan.

Commenting on her position as principal and teacher, Sister Joan explains that she tries to help the youth in four different ways, help them to grow as persons, stress to them that there are needs in the world, help them feel good about themselves, and give them opportunities to give now.

As pastor, Father Chester states, “Sister Joan is a very dedicated individual to the school and the students. She has totally involved herself with Catholic Education, and has made many goals for the school, including the library, a personal goal of her own.”

Catholic School Week is certainly a week that should not be overlooked by anyone, whether they are a part of the school or not, but realize that St. Anthony’s is a part of the Loyal Community where seven teachers and two paid aides, along with Father Chester and Principal Sister Joan stress and carry out the theme that a Catholic School is “Different Where It Counts.”



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