Part II: What is a Catholic Education?
What is the structure of a private school?
Technically, Sacred Heart Catholic School (SHS) is a parochial school since it was founded as a ministry of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hattiesburg. SHS is one of 53 parishes and missions of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi and the only Catholic school in the Pine Belt. SHS is supported by all local parishes located in Hattiesburg --- Holy Rosary, Saint Fabian Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. As we shared in Part 1: What is a Catholic Education, SHS has students from all religious backgrounds. SHS is the right choice for your family because it is rich in history, sound in structure and will prepare your child for college.
Did you know private schools are not required to follow accreditation standards. SHS is accredited regionally, nationally and internationally. All teachers are required to be licensed with the MS Department of Education. This process reviews prior license data, degrees, transcripts, Continuing Education Units, and more. SHS students excel academically and have earned a 24.4 average ACT over the last 6 years. These scores, as well as leadership and extracurricular involvement, allow SHS students to receive scholarships and attend universities across the country. Check out the academic profile and 2021-2022 Highlights from Sacred Heart.
Just this past week, Bishop Louis F. Kihneman III, 4th Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi, visited the high school campus. He presided over Mass and spent the entire day talking with the students, faculty and staff. During his homily (similar to a sermon), Bishop Kihneman talked about God's love and encouraged the students to be the Light of the world. He said, "Learn in the school and then take it home. That's how you change the world." He was presented with the "The Sacred Heart of Jesus" painted by SHS seniors.
At the end of Mass, he led the school and parents in a long-standing tradition at Sacred Heart --- Junior Ring Ceremony. In the mid 1900s, the Priest would bless class rings and the nuns would give them to their students. The tradition continued with the re-opening of the high school in 2007-2008. This time, parents presented blessed mementos to their student at the end of Mass. Today the ring ceremony includes other keepsakes such as watches and religious medals or other items that signify their time at Sacred Heart Catholic School. This ceremony is a special tradition at The Heart and even more special with Bishop Kihneman present. Dr. G. Mike Ladner, Interim Superintendent for the Diocese of Biloxi and other staff were present for this special occasion. Great way to prepare for Catholic Schools Week at the end of the month.