School Spotlight: St. Raphael Catholic School
On a crisp fall day, an army of volunteers with rakes and leaf blowers made their way to St. Raphael Catholic School in Crystal to put in a little hard work for a good cause.
“Well we’re all out here on a nice, cold and clear beautiful morning to go out and rake the yards of people in our community who are in need of assistance,” said Geri Cox, the organizer of the event. For the past 14 years, teachers and families from the Catholic school gather to help those in need with their annual Rake-A-Thon.
“It’s just nice to be able to get out in the community with the kids, not be in the classroom, and just be able to help the people who can’t do this,” said Suzanne Steinhauser, a St. Raphael teacher.
The event is a way for the St. Raphael family to give back to the community and raise money for the small school they represent.
“It all goes to our school; goes to a great cause,” Cox said. “We love our school.” The school itself has a little more than 100 students in grades K through 8. Jason Finne has taught here for the past four years. He says St. Raphael is like one big family.
“The kids are tremendous,” said Finne, a history teacher. “We have no problems with the kids here. They are great kids and the families are wonderful to work with here; and we’re here to serve them. It’s a fantastic place to work.”
The students at St. Raphael receive an education based on faith. The hope is that the message helps them grow up to be good people.
“They’re teaching me these things about love,” said Sianmairead Cox, an 8th grader.
“It’s like a very welcoming school and the teachers are very loving,” said 8th grader Sadia Fallah.
“The teachers care about you a lot,” said fellow 8th grade student Sam Soto.
“A caring environment makes a caring person, and our teachers are really passionate about what they do,” said 7th grader Tim Nguyen. “And I feel like they love what they teach; and that’s really infectious in the others, and it makes you enjoy the classes you go to.”
This caring environment helps make it that much easier to rake leaves on a Saturday morning.
“This place is like a family, and that’s why I’m drawn to it,” Finne said.
This year’s Rake-A-Thon raised more than $7,000. The money goes toward tuition assistance.