Having attended Catholic schools from preschool to my senior year of high school, I’ve definitely made some interesting memories and have discovered what makes Catholic school different from other types of education.
Attending weekly Mass with your grade level, having strict uniform guidelines, and praying several times a day was just a part of the daily lifestyle. Here are ten of my most distinct memories of my time in Catholic school!
1. Uniform Violations
I spent years rocking a plaid skirt and polo, and up until high school, we were required to have our shirts tucked in. I also actually got in trouble once for wearing socks that were lower than my ankles.
Almost all kids learned to altar serve (help out with Mass) while in Catholic school. We started getting paid twenty dollars every time we volunteered to serve at a funeral, so I began signing up for almost every funeral I could. It put a bit of a damper on the day, but getting paid AND getting to skip class couldn’t be beaten.
All Catholic kids receive the same sacraments together, so almost every second grader wore a suit or a white wedding-style dress to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist for our “First Communion.” We also had to perform several songs with choreographed hand motions.
4. Free Dress
When you wear a uniform every day of the school year, you absolutely LIVE for free dress days. Those days were rare, but you made up for them by planning out to wear your best outfits.
5. Mass Day Struggles
Us Catholic schoolers went to Mass every week with our grade. Despite having air conditioning, the church was always incredibly hot, and it wasn’t uncommon for kids to pass out during the service since we weren’t allowed to remove our sweater vests or cardigans.
6. "Leave room for the Holy Spirit"
A phrase actually uttered by teacher chaperones at our middle school dances.
7. Ash Wednesday
We were all required to attend an Ash Wednesday service once a year where black ashes were rubbed on our forehead to mark the beginning of the season of Lent. #Ashtag became a real thing, and you got used to getting strange stares after school was over.
8. No Makeup
If any girls were caught wearing any type of makeup, teachers would literally give them makeup remover wipes and make them go to the bathroom to take it off. At least we could wear “natural face powder” and “clear mascara”!
9. The Size
Catholic schools are tiny, and going to a kindergarten through eighth-grade school with the same 75 kids meant that everyone knew everything about everybody. We ALL knew if we got a new person in the grade or if anyone left the school.
10. Guilt Shaming
I had a teacher who would actually get kids in trouble during class if she found out they didn’t attend Sunday Mass. You were also scolded for not singing all the songs during church.