As Catholic School Week drew to a close, the Emmy-winning ABC correspondent and children’s author Linsey Davis shared her most recent book with students at Our Lady of Lourdes School on Feb. 2 presented by education program Page Turners.
National Catholic School Week was Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 and 2022 was a good year for Catholic schools with enrollment up 3.8 percent, according to the National Catholic Education Association, the biggest increase ever after consistent declines over the past two decades. Catholic schools in many parts of the country figured out how to resume in classroom learning after early lockdowns.
In New York State, however, the figures were not as robust. From 2019 to 2021 enrollment dropped nearly 9 percent but rebounded just under 1 percent (0.8 percent) in 2022. In the New York Archdiocese, which includes Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland and several other counties north of the city, there were approximately 67,000 students enrolled in Catholic Schools in grades pre-K through high school last year.
Whatever the national and statewide and local trend, it did not seem to matter much to the wide eyed students from grades one to three in the audience listening to Davis read at Our Lady of Lourdes in Harlem. Davis’ book, The Smallest Spot of a Dot: The Little Ways We’re Different, the Big Ways We’re the Same, focuses on the big similarities people around the world share with one another and the small but important individual differences that make us who we are.
Davis said her book was inspired by the Human Genome Project and the revelation that regardless of ethnicity or nationality, humans share 99.9% of our DNA in common. She said that in writing the book, she wanted to explain to her son, “Yes, we are different, but we have a lot more in common.”
Page Turners is part of the larger organization Champions for Quality Education, which promotes the literary arts by bringing celebrated authors into inner-city schools.
Page Turners works with the Archdiocese of New York to bring writers, artists and more to Catholic schools in the city, teaching them about creativity and the arts.
“A lot was virtual the past few years,” said Margaret Ukrop, senior manager for donor relations at Champions for Quality Education. “We’re trying to bring it back in person, the way it was pre-pandemic.
“We’re really committed to bringing back after-school enrichment...just bringing in programs like this that are very unique, and kind of open up kids’ minds to all these occupations and adventures they can have.”
“We’re really committed to bringing back after-school enrichment...just bringing in programs like that that are very unique and kind of open up kids minds to all these occupations and adventures they can have.” Margaret Ukrop, senior manager for donor relations, Champions for Quality Education.