LINCOLN (CRC/SNR) – Cathedral of the Risen Christ School in Lincoln celebrated its second annual “Dignity Day” Jan. 13, themed “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
Principal Jeremy Ekeler said the school’s “Dignity campaign” was launched in 2015, with a special focus on treating one another in a Christ-like manner. Each month the school has a special “soft skill” focus such as random acts of kindness, saying “please” and “thank you,” how to shake hands, how to avoid interrupting, and more. Ekeler said teachers seamlessly bring the campaign into their curriculum across all subjects.
“The amazing thing about the Dignity Campaign is that it is so easily implemented,” said eighth-grade teacher Mrs. Wiebusch. “It’s what we are all called to do as children of Christ. The campaign has made us more aware and direct in making those lessons practical.”
Posters with the school’s Dignity Pledge are signed annually by all students and staff in the building, as a sort of contract to each other. The Dignity Pledge is also reaffirmed each morning. The children pledge to: “Be respectful, be positive, be honest, be thankful, be responsible, be patient, be saintly, recognize the dignity of all human beings, see Christ in others, be like Christ to others.”
At the school’s daily Mass Jan. 13, assistant pastor Father Justin Fulton preached on recognizing dignity in each other. Throughout the school day eighth-graders Tabitha Heftie and Emily Korinek, members of the school’s Dignity Ambassadors, went room to room, telling the story of people with disabilities and what blessings they are to the community. Other ambassadors read books to children that focused on respect for each other.
Mr. Ekeler kicked off an afternoon assembly reminding students and staff that the day was a reward for the inspiring way they treat each other and hold one another accountable.
Guest speaker Bishop James Conley then gave a presentation on the story of a young girl, Lucette, raised by atheist parents in Morocco, who came across a picture of a crucifix and felt compelled to learn about the man on that cross, and his incredible act of love and dignity. The girl eventually grew up to be Mother Veronica Namoyo Le Goulard, a Poor Clare nun in Algiers.
Finally, Cathedral’s St. Cecilia junior high choir teamed with the i2Choir of Lincoln for several songs by each choir. The i2Choir is directed by Dr. Rhonda Fuelberth of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is composed of people with special needs who perform with mentors. The choir encourages teams who would like to sing with, and support, family members and friends with a variety of physical, sensory, and cognitive challenges.
Dr. Fuelberth included the audience in songs, teaching the students and audience members simple melodies and even sign language to accompany the singers.