The Sacred Heart Catholic School in Uvalde, Texas, is raising funds to aid former students of Robb Elementary who wish to transfer in the coming school year. Along with tuition assistance, the Archdiocese of San Antonio is also bringing in a team of religious sisters who will provide emotional and spiritual assistance in the coming semesters.
The school year began this week for students from Uvalde, many of whom from Robb Elementary had to decide if they would return to the public school, transfer to a private school, or switch to homeschooling. According to Go Santangelo, however, many families of this working-class community do not have the funds for private school, or the availability to teach their children from home.
To address this, the Archdiocese of San Antonio has vowed assistance to as many children as it can accommodate. Good Morning America’s (GMA) August 16 report, featured above, notes that Sacred Heart has already doubled its enrolled students, with 11 of them having been children who were injured in the Robb Elementary shooting.
In the interview with GMA, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio spoke about a Mass he celebrated for Sacred Heart at the beginning of the school year. He said that while trying to communicate with Robb Elementary students he found that it was easier to interact with them if he both spoke and used sign language.
He explained that the motion of his hands would help engage these children who exhibit the long hard stares of children who have experienced traumatic events. The Archbishop said:
“It was a breakthrough. So I said to them ‘Do you feel very sad?’” Archbishop García-Siller made the ASL hand gesture for sadness, then he asked the kids, “What is what you want?” and the children responded with the hand gesture for “peace.” The prelate said of the interaction “I was just for them and with them and I felt so happy that I was able to connect with them.”
With room in Sacred Heart for 170 students, the school wants to accommodate as many children from Robb Elementary as possible. According to an August 15 report from KSAT, there are 80 families who are seeking to transfer.
KSAT went on to report that the scholarships are funded in conjunction with Catholic Extension, a national 501 fundraising organization that supports Church missions. Catholic Extension is also supplying the school district with a team of six religious sisters who will tend to the school and communities’ children with emotional and spiritual support. These services will be available for both students and staff for the next 18 months.
In order to help parents feel more comfortable leaving their kids at school, the Archdiocese has also broadened school security with the help of Convergint Technologies. According to a report from KENS5, Convergint Technologies has donated and installed a $42,000 security system at Sacred Heart. This includes cameras, magnetic door locks, a key card system and wiring and hardware placed throughout the school.
These efforts will go towards keeping Uvalde students safe and to help return them to a mental state in which they can learn once again. Archbishop García-Siller concluded his interview with a message to the children:
“God wants everyone to enjoy glory in heaven, but it’s not our time yet. So we need to carry on and to carry on with joy, because our life has meaning.”