Priest Flies in On Mission of Peace

Students at Our Lady of Peace School learned Friday at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport that their mission for the school year is “peace,” and they accepted it.

About 200 students in kindergarten through eighth grade were ushered onto Marshall County Schools buses following Mass at the school Friday morning, and they were told by their teachers only that they were going on “a top-secret” journey.

Their destination was the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport, and they watched as the Rev. Dennis Schuelkens and Diocesan Superintendent of Schools Vincent Schmidt arrived by helicopter to deliver the school’s 2013-14 mission.

They handed off a cardboard sign to Principal C’Ann Reilly bearing the word “peace,” and noting each letter in the word stood for a goal this year:

– “P” is for prayer;

– “E” is to be encouraging and set an example;

– “A” is to achieve academic excellence;

– “C” is for community, commitment and covenant; and

– “E” is for having esteem for ourselves and others.

After accepting their mission, the students were given frozen, patriotic “red white berry blasts” from the Ziegenfelder Co.

It wasn’t the first time educators at Our Lady of Peace have created an event to excite students for the start of the school year, Reilly noted.

In 2012, the school’s theme was “raising up,” and a hot air balloon was brought to the school. The year before, students were encouraged to “climb a mountain” through the use of a rock wall.

“It’s a way to excite and energize the students,” she said. “They see their mission is possible, and it brings everyone together.”

The parents of each student were asked to sign a “confidential” permission slip allowing their child to travel to the airport, and Reilly commended the parents for keeping this year’s “top-secret mission” quiet.

“It was fun,” said Lane Bibey, a sixth-grader.

Her classmate, Madison Dobkin, also accepted the mission.

“I have never ridden in a plane … ,” she said while looking at the aircraft and memorabilia at the site. “I thought it was really cool.”

Another sixth-grader, Jett Roesing, said he had ridden on ” a lot of planes” and enjoyed the chance to look at some of the aircraft up close.

“I thought it was cool,” he said.