What looked like a normal scene at a Catholic school — of a student assisting during Mass as an altar server — was actually quite groundbreaking.
Luke has Down syndrome, but he is an active student at St. Viator School. He works hard in class, serves as an altar server and participates in extracurricular activities, including basketball. He also serves as a mentor to younger students.
“We would not want him to be anywhere else,” say his parents, Barb and Jim, of the youngest of their five children, all of whom attended St. Viator School.
Luke is part of a unique program at St. Viator Parish School in Las Vegas which takes its lead from the Book of Micah, in the Old Testament: “Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God and each other.”
That verse, taken from the 6th chapter, is the school’s motto but it also represents its groundbreaking program of inclusion, which is the only one of its kind at a Catholic school in the state of Nevada.
The Micah Program aims to provide students with physical and intellectual learning disabilities a Christ-centered environment in which to learn. The program strives to maximize each student’s abilities by developing the whole person, academically and socially.
The parish will hold a special collection this weekend to continue to fund the program, whose results, school officials say, have been nothing short of life-changing.
“While some see disabilities, we see possibilities,” says Principal Tracy Brunelle. “Above all, we see the face of God in each child. We are all blessed by them.”