Catholic schools offer ‘that other dimension,’ CSJ teacher says

January 29, 2010 by

Sister Pauline Kukula teaches an eighth-grade religion class earlier this month at Sacred Heart Junior-Senior High School in Salina.

Sister Pauline Kukula teaches an eighth-grade religion class earlier this month at Sacred Heart Junior-Senior High School in Salina.

(Originally published in The Register of the Salina Diocese, Jan. 29, 2010)

By Doug Weller
The Register

SALINA — After teaching 40 years in the Diocese of Salina, Sister Pauline Kukula says her love for education and her students hasn’t diminished.

Neither has her support for Catholic schools.

“We have good public schools here, but we have that other dimension,” she said.

That dimension — obviously — is a Catholic environment and religious instruction.

Catholic schools in the diocese will be celebrating that difference next week during Catholic Schools Week.

As the junior high religion teacher at Sacred Heart Junior-Senior High School in Salina, Sister Pauline is intimately involved in her students’ catechesis.

A Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia, she teaches six classes a day, a total of about 100 students, plus is in charge of daily prayer services and other activities.

“Religion class is an important part of their day, as is the Catholic environment of the school,” Sister Pauline said, and she credits her fellow faculty members and staff for providing that.

Junior high is a great age to teach, she said, calling her students “delightful.”

“They’re good kids. St. Mary’s Grade School lays a marvelous foundation. What they get there, they come to me, and I carry on,” she said.

The challenge, she noted, is trying to reach every student.

“There are kids who are going to go to college, but a good percentage do not, so you have to teach the whole gamut. You have to give different prayer experiences, different learning experiences,” she said.

“God’s infinite expressions are in all those kids. That’s a mystical experience. They all have different talents and expressions,” she added.

She’s still teaching because “you know where you’re called. … It’s a wonderful place here, to walk hand-in-hand with Christ every day,” she said.


5 Responses to “Catholic schools offer ‘that other dimension,’ CSJ teacher says”

  1. Mary Jo Thummel on February 1st, 2010 2:36 pm

    Dear Polly,
    I’m thrilled to see you on our website and also in the “Register”! After being in your classroom so recently, I can almost hear your interchange. How lucky your students are to have suce a creative teachers as you. I’m sure they will carry some of the knowledge you have imparted into their adult years. What a positive influence you are.
    Mary Jo

  2. Liebe Pellerin on February 1st, 2010 10:51 am

    Polly, As a long-ago teacher, I am always inspired by your zeal and down-to-earth way of presenting what really makes a difference in lives. It catches on, too. God alone knows how many of your students have “caught” and been “caught” by Jesus. Those “catchings” can last a lifetime. Blessings on you and your past, present and future students!

  3. Betty Suther on February 1st, 2010 9:06 am

    I admire you, Polly! What a wonderful example you are to the students lucky enough to have you for their teacher. May you continue to have the energy to be that light you are to so many!

  4. Sister Francis Margaret Otter on January 31st, 2010 8:09 pm

    Congratulations, Polly. I love your pose – a real teacher style! I wish that every junior high student in the diocese could experience two years with you in their religion courses. How fortunate they would be. I had a tourist last month here at the Motherhouse who was very eager to ask me if I knew you and to tell me that she had you as a teacher at Sacred Heart Junior High. Keep up the good work. I know that it takes a lot of energy but what a pay-off.

  5. Jodi Creten on January 29th, 2010 1:47 pm

    Great recognition for a wonderful teacher of Gospel values! Thanks, Polly, for so faithfully sharing the Word with some of our most vulnerable.

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