Friday, May 6, 2011

Stoking the Education Flames

Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.  ~William Butler Yeats

Mary Catherine is over the moon with excitement!  It's official...she's transferring schools for the 2011-2012 school year.  
I thought these Easter wreaths on the parish church doors were so full of color.
The decision was a difficult one for us...we were blessed with a wonderfully creative and supportive kindergarten teacher at Mary's public elementary school.  But something was missing...

not the arts...that's for sure.  Mary has loved her art teacher and weekly art instruction.  She has also enjoyed P.E., library, and music...

...but still, something was missing.

When she shared with her daddy and me that she had been praying "in secret" at her desk, my  husband and I knew what decision we needed to make.

Why yes, that is a winter coat my daughter is sporting on April 29th!

It's a decision that we've been exploring for several months now, including visits during National Catholic Schools' Week and classroom observations this past month.

It's going to require financial sacrifice and a time commitment from all of us in this family.  But, my husband and I feel strongly that we must stoke "the fire" (see above quote) that the Holy Spirit has obviously lit in our daughter!

Little did we know that when we said "I do" in this very same church nearly 18 years later we would be sending our first-born to elementary school here!

I've reminded her on several occasions that her "new" school, which in fact is quite "old", will not be as fancy or have the latest and greatest technological advances, including no "art" program.  
She reminded me that instead, she "gets" to go to Mass once a week, wear a uniform, and pray during class time.  

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”  Richard L. Evans

Thank you, Mary Catherine, for continually teaching me what it means to unselfishly parent.  May you always know how much your father and I cherish you...body and spirit.

P.S. While we "officially" enrolled our daughter at St. Paul's last Friday, I waited until today to publicly announce our decision. This past week has been "National Teacher Appreciation Week" and I did not want Mary Catherine's teacher to hear the news from word of mouth (it is a small world, after all!) and think we did not appreciate her efforts this year.

Today, at dismissal, I spoke with Mrs. S. to let her know how much my husband and I appreciated all the extra attention she showered on Mary throughout the school year. Mary really took off with reading, and Mrs. S. went above and beyond to continue to challenge her.

My husband and I want to make sure that nobody thinks that we do not support our public schools...we do. But more importantly, we support school choice. Many would disagree with our decision, especially as I am a former public school educator, but as 3rd generation Catholic school graduates ourselves, it has been weighing on our minds that we were not continuing the tradition of providing a religious education for our children.

We believe all children deserve the best education available, whether that be public, parochial/private, or homeschool education.  The choice should always be left up to the parent.


  1. Hugs my dear friend!! I am so proud of yall for this wonderful decision! I do not bash public schools or any other option, but you know I feel you have to do what is right for your family! And I have to hand it to you for doing just that!!! What a beautiful decision!!

    Miss you so much!!! I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!!

    Hugs and Love,

  2. Education decisions are always difficult. Just remember that your goal for your children is heaven. Everything else is gravy. Yes life probably includes a strong education but when that does not lead to heaven it needs to change. Good luck next year!

  3. Education is such a hard choice. You have to listen to your heart.

  4. These type of decisions are hard to make especially for one who has
    "been in the field."
    Best of luck to Mary next year!

    Happy Mother's day to you!!!


  5. That is very exciting, but I'm just saddened that this will require extra funds - I keep forgetting that although our countries are neighbours, things are still very different. For us here in Canada, BOTH public and separate [aka Catholic] schools are publicly funded. In fact, on my tax form each year, I have the option of supporting one board or the other. I'm so impressed with Mary Catherine - wow, really out of the mouths of babes :-)

  6. Sounds like a fun new direction for you all. Your childrn are adorable.


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