Officials at Sacred Heart Catholic School pride themselves on loving their community, students and staff, especially in tough times such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
To that end, the school is holding myriad events into the fall season, including fundraisers, clothing drives and beautification projects.
“We think that it’s very important to go out and love and serve our community the way that God wants us to,” said Janet Nicovich, fifth-grade language arts and religion teacher at Sacred Heart. “We are very proud of our school, and we love our school and our community, and we’re excited to be involved in helping.”
The festivities began on Oct. 28 with the Feast Day of St. Jude, when Sacred Heart students sent e-cards to the patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
“St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate cases, lost causes, things like that,” Nicovich said. “So, we take it to heart that we need to teach our children about the different feast days, and St. Jude just happens to be affiliated with the St. Jude hospital in Memphis.
“Especially during the time of COVID, they were not accepting handwritten cards, so to go along with what we do here, we decided we would join the ranks and send e-cards to all the patients at St. Jude. I think several hundred were sent, and I hope that it spreads some joy and brings some happiness to the children there.”
Last week, the school raised money for the “Turkey Dollar Drive” that is conducted annually to support needy families.
The goal of the dollar drive is to raise enough money to purchase 150 turkeys for St. Vincent de Paul in Hattiesburg – a goal that has been surpassed each year since the fundraiser’s inception.
“For years, we have been doing the Thanksgiving dollar drive so that we can present them with a check for turkeys for needy families in the community,” Nicovich said. “It’s just an outreach and a way to serve community needs.
“Our goal this year was to get enough money for turkeys for 150 families, and we raised a grand total of $4,330 in five days. That’s 309 turkeys, so we doubled our goal. I was quite proud of them; we’ve got some good students here.”
This week, Sacred Heart is working with Kim Townsend, who serves as homeless coordinator for the City of Hattiesburg, to launch a sock, glove and hat drive to benefit homeless individuals in the area.
“I asked Kim what the need was, and last year we did food baskets for Advent,” Nicovich said. “I know Advent is coming up, so we will be doing, hopefully, food baskets again for the Hub City’s homeless.
“But since the weather’s getting colder, we will be collecting socks and gloves and hats and things like that. The students are really excited about doing that as well.”
In addition, Sacred Heart’s parent-teacher organization will conduct a beautification project on Nov. 14 on the school’s campus.
“They’re going to be planting flowers, and just working to make our campus look as beautiful as it can,” Nicovich said. “There’s a wooden stand outside that would house another modular building that we had, and they’re going to be tearing that out and putting some new flowers and shrubs and new mulch on the playground. They’re just going to be doing a lot to make our school beautiful.”
Nicovich said those kind of endeavors are crucial, especially during COVID-19 when many restrictions have been placed on socializing.
“We’ve got some good things going on around here,” she said. “At a time when everything is so up in the air – we’ve got COVID-19 and there’s just so many things going on that are sad – we’re really pulling together and trying hard to spread some happiness, positivity and joy in our community.
“It’s important for the children at our school to be able to participate in that.”