Lizzy Smith, Vinny Pallini Tell What Catholic Schools Have Meant in Their Lives


Senior Vinny Pallini talks about his years of education in Catholic schools.

Lizzy Smith, Vinny Pallini, Guest Writers

Wednesday Notre Dame Academy celebrated Catholic Schools Week with an all-school Mass led by Bishop David Ricken.  At the conclusion of the Mass two seniors, Lizzy Smith and Vinny Pallini, gave their stories, their own testimonials, about Catholic education.  The following are excerpts from their talks.

From Lizzy Smith:   I am a senior here at Notre Dame. This year is my 14th year of Catholic schooling, and I am sad to say it is my last.

For the first ten years of my Catholic education, I attended St. Matthew School where I learned how to be a loving follower of Christ, to see God in my everyday life and to find a part of Jesus in everyone. Because of Catholic education, I have not only learned more about Christ and my Church, but more importantly, I have also come to know Jesus as a personal friend.

My faith has grown stronger because of the faith-enriching opportunities here at school, such as morning Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Witness and 40 Days for Life.

Morning Mass has been the most important part of my Catholic education. Since freshman year, I have started almost every school day with Mass. It is through the graces of the Eucharist that I partake in another important aspect of my Catholic education, which is service. I have been able to become Christ’s hands and feet by helping out at Saint John’s Homeless Shelter, going on the Canton, Mississippi, service trip and participating in school fundraisers such as the Jack Washington Wonderful World Fund.

Being a member of St. Matthew’s Parish, I have been familiar with the Jack Washington Fund for a very long time. I have heard about the great changes this organization has brought to students in our own community. For the remainder of the week, I challenge you to not only donate your money to the cause but also to donate your time in prayer.

This is what Catholic Schools Week is all about: Putting our words into actions. But, first, we must know the right words because, as Blessed Mother Teresa put it, ”Without God we are too poor to be able to help the poor.”

Senior Lizzy Smith talks about how important Catholic education has been to her.
Senior Lizzy Smith talks about how important Catholic education has been to her.


From Vinny Pallini:  I’ve gone to Catholic schools my whole life. I started at Holy Family school, attending from kindergarten to 8th grade, and then I’ve been very fortunate to have this opportunity of being at Notre Dame. There are so many things that my teachers, coaches and myself  can do at a Catholic school that would not be possible at a public school.

The most important to me is before each Friday night game, as a football team, we would all take a knee in the weight room and say the Our Father together. To me this was so cool– getting the opportunity to pray together and take a moment of silence before going out to play the sport we loved.

The freedom to pray to Jesus is a gift we all take for granted each day. Another thing that I get an opportunity to do is go to Mass each Friday morning to serve. This is another thing we take for granted–having Mass at our own school before every school day. It’s so convenient and accessible, and getting that opportunity is another reason I am so grateful to go to a Catholic school.

I thank my family and the Catholic schools I have attended  for grounding me in my faith and always challenging me to become a better person.


Bishop Ricken listens to the students talk about Catholic education.
Bishop David Ricken listens to the students talk about Catholic education.
Alter servers, Mr.Kriegl and Bishop David Ricken after the mass for Catholic Schools Week.
Altar servers, Mr.Kriegl and Bishop David Ricken after the Mass for Catholic Schools Week.