NORTHFIELD CENTER -- A spotlight will shine on St. Barnabas School, beginning with a Jan. 29 open house that will launch Catholic Schools Week, a week-long, national celebration.

During the open house, from 1:15 to 3:15 p.m., people can tour the school, meet teachers, current students and others connected with the school including athletic association and PTU members.

"You get such an amazing sense of the vibrancy of the school," said Deanna Butler, the school's director of development. "It is one of those days that we really urge people to come and see what we have to offer. You get a real sense of that."

Principal Thomas McFadden said school leaders want to "showcase our school and, more importantly, our students. The gymnasium will be a frenzy of activity."

Tours of the school will be given, and all students in grades K-8 will participate in an "Ex-STREAM" expo that will focus on science, technology, religion, engineering, art and music. McFadden stressed the school is adding religion and art to the traditional "STEM" model.

"Teachers will go to the noon Mass, then the open house follows," he said. "You can cruise around the building and see the students work."

Butler said the school's junior high students have been working on science projects for several months, and everybody will have pieces represented in the expo," she said.

Students in grades 6-8 will display their History Day projects prior to the upcoming National History Day regional competition in Cleveland.

"Students can create a website, an exhibit board or a play, or write a research paper," she said. "People will also see examples of student art work.

"There is a lot to see," she added. "It's really a lot of fun. We're kicking off one of my favorite times of the year at the school."

McFadden added, "Hopefully, we'll capture the interest of some new families."

Catholic Schools Week activities

Including preschool, St. Barnabas has 549 students. They will take part in Catholic Schools Week that will continue Jan. 30 through Feb. 4.

"Each day is like an appreciation day," McFadden said. The week of activities will focus on various things during each school day including:

Jan 30: "The first day will focus on the students themselves and how grateful we are," Butler said.

Jan. 31: The focus will be on parents, who can come to school with their students before the day starts and enjoy coffee and doughnuts.

Feb. 1: The focus will be on the community. "We wouldn't have a school without our parish," Butler said. "We show them how much we appreciate them. We will have an 'appreciation cafe.' It's a nice time for the parishioners, who can interact with the students."

Feb. 2: The focus will be on the teachers. "We tell them Thank you.' It takes a very special person to be a Catholic School teacher," Butler said.

Feb. 3: The focus will be on the school. "We start that day with Mass, which we do every Friday," Butler said. "The day ends with a pep rally to bring the winter athletic season to a close. Also, it is a time for the students to come together to end the week."

Feb. 4: An extra day will be added featuring the school hosting "Spirit Day" for its basketball teams from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Later in February

On Feb. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m., St. Barnabas will host its "Kindergarten Experience," open to any youngster in the area that will enter kindergarten in the fall, whether they are registered or not.

McFadden said this will be the second year for the kindergarten event. Students and their parents go through what a day of kindergarten is like in 15-minute segments including gym class, music class, checking out books from the library, making a project in art class, working on computers in tech lab, and going through the lunch line and paying for a snack "like the big kids do," Butler said. Registration for the event begins at 5:30 p.m.

"They get to be in a real classroom and do those fun activities," Butler said, adding children will then hear stories and do circle time.

Children will also take home gifts like the kindergarteners do including a tote bag to take to class with them, a report card for all of their classes and a book from the library.

For more information on the school and upcoming events, call 330-467-7921, or see

Mike Lesko: 330-541-9432