Mass at Columbus High School. 

Question: Do you have to be Catholic to attend Catholic school?

Answer: No. We welcome children of all faiths and we have many non Catholic students who attend our schools. Nationally 30 percent of students in Catholic schools are non-Catholic.

 Q: Does it take a lot of money to attend Catholic school, or are scholarships available?

A: It depends on family circumstances and everyone does pay something. All families are encouraged to fill out the School Tuition Organization (STO) application to determine financial assistance and funding toward the cost of tuition.

The Our Faith, Our Children, Our Future STO is funded by numerous generous donors from across the Archdiocese of Dubuque. All donors received an Iowa Tax Credit equal to 65 percent of their gift, with all donations qualifying for a federal income tax deduction.Fpr more information, visit www.OurFaithSTO.org.

Cedar Valley Catholic Schools also has local funding to provide tuition assistance over and above the STO program thus providing supplementary tuition assistance. Our local assistance program is open to all locally qualifying families, not just those eligible for the STO.

The application and guidelines are available at the school office and online at http://www.psas.org/DUBQ.aspx. In addition to the completed application, you must include a copy of your federal income tax return. 

To assist you in filling out the application, the PSAS call center is available at (866) 424-6443. The call center is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. week days and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.u Call the school offices or CVCS Central Office for assistance. 

Q: Are all the teachers nuns and priests, and is the discipline as harsh as rulers across the knuckles?

A: Cedar Valley Catholic Schools is blessed to have one nun, Sister Helen at Saint Edward School. Everyone adores Sister Helen, who is kind and gentle. Discipline today means being responsible for completing your homework, being organized, and prepared, and respectful of others in class and on the playground. Discipline also means taking responsibility for your actions and behavior. We still have rulers, but only for math class and measuring art projects.

Q: Is there a lot of religious instruction in class?

A: Each grade has a religion class, but today religion is more about care and concern of others and encouraging students to ask questions to understand religion and the traditions. We do learn prayers and offer prayers for others. Students frequently volunteer to offer prayers for their classmates in times of need or family crisis. Our community service projects are often faith based and we do support other religious organizations in some of our service projects.

Students will lead prayers before sporting events and activities. Non-Catholics are invited to lead prayers Children still learn prayers before they make their first communion and before confirmation. Many of our classes will discuss faith in a variety of ways and how it applies to a particular lesson.

 Q: Are children forced to attend Mass?

A: All children attend Mass in our schools. Although they are not required to participate in certain sacraments, they are required to attend. Our non-Catholic teachers and staff also attend mass and participate. We ask non-Catholic students to be respectful during the Mass. They are encouraged to ask questions so they understand the tradition of the Mass.

Our school Masses are frequently by parents, families, and parishioners. There are often non-Catholic family members who chose to attend Mass in our schools. Often our younger children are excited for Mass because our parish priests are so engaging and ask questions during the homily. Children are eager to answer questions and enjoy being an integral part of the Mass. Even kindergartners serve as readers, sing in the choir and carry the gifts to the altar. Many students are altar servers as well as lead special prayers during the Mass. We have very active campus ministry student groups in our schools.

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