Southington Catholic School: Learning about government, law, and the weather

Cold temperatures didn’t stop the weatherman. Channel 3 meteorologist Mark Dixon, right, introduced Southington Catholic School students to the “storm tracker” last Friday. The traveling weather station for Channel 3 is equipped with instruments that measure wind, humidity, dew point, and more. The presentation was part of Catholic schools week, an annual tradition that brings guest speakers into the Catholic schools. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

By SHERIDAN ROY

STAFF WRITER

Southington Catholic School celebrated “Catholic schools week” last week with guest speakers and interactive experiences for students to enjoy.

Sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association, the annual tradition began in 1974.

Today, Catholic schools across the nation commemorate the tradition with celebrations, Masses, open houses, and activities for students, families, parishioners and community members.

Three guest speakers were scheduled to visit SCS: state representative Gale Mastrofrancesco, Channel 3’s meteorologist Mark Dixon, and a representative from the Southington Police Department to give a presentation on internet safety. SPD rescheduled their visit due to freezing temperatures and school delays.

State Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco, right, talks about government with one classroom. (Submitted)

“We try to think of what the kids are studying when we’re choosing speakers to visit during Catholic schools week,” said director of advancement Mary Alexander. “We try to enhance what they’re already learning.”

Alexander said often times children learn well through visual presentations, so having guest speakers come out to represent their careers was an opportunity to inspire and engage students.

Mastrofrancesco visited on Thursday, and Alexander said she was “wonderful.”

“She touched on a current issue: a bill being discussed that would not fund bussing for non-public schools, which would affect our students,” she said. “We do hope that everyone who pays taxes will have the option to have their child bussed to school.”

Fourth graders at SCS learn about Connecticut government in their studies, and the school’s six-year-olds know the three branches of government. Mastrofrancesco discussed how a bill becomes a law, and why she got into politics.

“She motivated our students to be inspired and be involved in the community, and that there is a role for everyone in the community,” said Alexander.

On Friday, meteorologist Mark Dixon visited students and showed of Channel 3’s traveling weather station, the “storm tracker,” a Chevrolet Suburban equipped with advanced weather technology.

“What’s neat about being a meteorologist is that weather is happening and changing every day, all day,” Dixon told students. “There’s a lot of diversity in this small state, so it can be difficult to forecast the weather in each town.”

The Suburban is equipped with weather instruments on the roof to measure wind, detect humidity, measure the dew point and gauge the chance of rain.

Southington Catholic School students welcomed Channel 3 meteorologist Mark Dixon last Friday on the final day of Catholic school week. Students learned from guest speakers, including Dixon, State Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-Wolcott, Southington), and Southington police. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

It also has the technology to enable the weather team to broadcast from anywhere—even while driving. Cameras appear in the front and back of the van, and connections appear on the right-hand side for hooking up microphones and video.

Students had a range of questions for Dixon, including “when will the snow melt,” “how hot will summer be,” and “what will happen to the SuperBowl if it rains?”

About 100 students ventured outside in groups to see the storm tracker up-close, and later that night, students’ photos with Dixon were featured on Channel 3 news.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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