KINGSTON – Students at Good Shepherd Academy were jumping with joy and the gymnasium was filled with laughter Feb. 1, as a member of the Harlem Wizards entertained and educated the students during a Catholic Schools Week assembly.

“It was our first experience with the Harlem Wizards,” Jim Jones, principal, said. “They deliver an inspirational message, and they couple that message around athletics and basketball, and they interweave that message with our children. While they’re seeing something fun, they’re leaving with a message that they need to be good people, have upstanding values and need to treat others with respect.”

For an hour, the students were treated to comedic skits, ball-handling tricks and more.

“I always look forward to Catholic Schools Week as just a break from regular school,” eighth grader Chase Liska said. “You don’t have to worry so much about work and different projects.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Catholic Schools Week. In addition to the Harlem Wizards assembly, Good Shepherd also had a ‘Science in Motion’ presentation, talent show, spirit day and much more.

“It gives us a week to celebrate not only our academics, but we celebrate our teachers and our students, we celebrate our PTA, we celebrate our athletic associations, we celebrate everything that is good about Catholic education,” Jones said. “Everything at Good Shepherd, we begin in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These students are the future of our church. They’re the future of society.”

As she prepares to move onto high school next year, eighth grader Sienna Curry said she has been given both the academic and spiritual foundation to succeed.

“They definitely prepare us. We do a lot of service projects and work together,” she said. “This school is a family. It is a great community to be in.”

While Catholic Schools Week is always a fun experience, it is also a time to highlight why Catholic schools are great places of academic excellence and faith-filled mission.

“Here at Good Shepherd, we place our utmost trust in our delivery of the academics, the spiritual, emotional, social, and physical growth of children. We’re setting the stage for their futures,” Jones said.