By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
A picture is worth a thousand words. Many hands make light work.
A pair of old adages often used independently to exemplify something spectacular.
Jenny Cahill, a pre-Kindergarten teacher at All Saints Catholic School, though, put the two thoughts together to help create a project highlighting the campus’s diverse population.
“I wanted to create a simple but powerful way to illustrate how diversity binds us together every day,” Cahill said. “Those two phrases stand out to me. This togetherness and diversity, although contrasting, is what also binds us together through our faith.”
For Catholic Schools Week, Cahill had students create wall art from handprints decorated to celebrate their cultures. Students traced their hands, decorating them with different aspects of their cultural heritage to showcase the school’s diversity.
“The idea was to highlight the universality of our faith and to show that ‘we are many parts, but one body,’” said Shana Druffner, principal at All Saints. “We have so many students here from around the world. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to celebrate our diversity and our unity all at the same time.”
In planning the project, Cahill, who seven years ago immigrated to the United States from Ireland, reflected on her own story.
“Ever since, I have felt welcomed and proud, not only of my new home, but also proud of where I am from and what I can offer,” Cahill said. “I wanted to highlight this aspect through our diversity in the school as we are a community of cultures united in God’s love.”
The pre-K teacher said she loves that every time she walks past the display it serves as a reminder and a showcase of the cultural diversity at the school.
“I have heard a group of students discussing their family history with pride,” she said.
Cahill believes the display has given the students an opportunity to express their cultural background and learn from one another.
“In the gospel of Matthew 25:40, Jesus tells us, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to Me.’ As Catholics, we are called to include everyone in our lives — to respect them and love them as neighbors,” Cahill explained. “After seeing all of these beautiful hands of many cultures, it gives us an awareness of how diverse and rich we are as a school and yet we are all one.”
In addition to the handprint project, All Saints students also collected more than 3,000 pounds of food to donate to Catholic Charities Dallas during Catholic Schools Week. Students also made Valentine’s Day cards for residents of St. Joseph’s Village, a faith-based retirement community in Coppell founded in Catholic traditions, and other retirement communities.
“We take our call to service seriously,” Druffner said. “It is the aim of Christian life.”