Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding a School Home

As I briefly mentioned, last Spring, we made the decision to enroll Mary at our local Catholic elementary school.  Although our own parish does not operate a school, a neighboring parish willingly accepted her for admission.  Economics...?  Perhaps.  But we also think that it was God's providence calling us to St. Paul's.

Eighteen years ago (this October) my husband and I were married at St. Paul's. 

It's a "homecoming" in many ways.

Last weekend, Mary, Ben, Luke and I attended Mass at St. Paul's so that we might meet the new principal and pick up Mary and Ben's "Back to School" packet.  Both kiddos were so excited. 

I remember, while still teaching, my principal asking me what Catholic school (or any parochial/private school) does "so differently" from public school, as I, myself, am a Catholic school graduate.

I just couldn't articulate my answer. 

It's not the academics.  At least not where we live.  We have outstanding public school systems surrounding our metro area.

It's not necessarily even the teachers.  Although they are part of the equation.  There are outstanding, loving, caring teachers in public schools.

I was one of them.

It's the feeling tone of the buildings that are so different.  It's the love for Christ that permeates through all the day's activities...whether that be the respect show between students and teachers and students and students...artwork on the walls...lessons in the classroom...uniforms worn to show modesty and respect for ourselves and our neighbors...

It's the support and encouragement to have large families...and to include those families in activities throughout the school year...

It's attending weekly Mass...saying grace before meals...and starting and ending each day with prayer...

This is what makes Catholic schools different.

This weekend, we had our 2nd opportunity to interact with the St. Paul school family.  Saturday night was the Ice Cream Social after 5 PM Mass.  And while I forgot to snap a couple of pictures of the kids enjoying their root beer floats, I did manage to capture the smiles and fun that my two were having making new friends and playing on new playground equipment. 

From the principal (who is new herself!), to Benjamin's preschool teacher, to random parents who came up to introduce themselves and welcome us to St. Paul's, we couldn't have felt more loved. 

Thank you St. Paul's family for welcoming us to our new school home and for showing us the love of Christ in action.


P.S  Mary will be one of only 16 or 17 in First Grade. There is only one section of Kindergarten through 5th grade...and 6th, 7th and 8th grades are combined.  Wow. Sort of like a one-room school house!


  1. Catholic Education sometimes means the goal has nothing to do with grades and everything to do with the direction of the soul. Your kiddos are on a great path. Have a wonderful year.

  2. I guess that as a Catholic school graduate all through elementary and secondary school, we take this advantage for granted. I experienced all the things you mention and I think that the school community is a great training ground for our adult lives - I recall in my highschool, the 'smokers' who cut class and skipped school masses are just as disassociated from the general community and the Catholic faith today as they were then - but those of us who forged strong friendships with people who had similar beliefs and values were able to grow into mature, God-loving individuals.

    Now that I think about it, when I was growing up in Communist Eastern Europe, I would attend religion class after my public school classes and I loved the interaction and friendships with my 'class mates' in the church basement, being led by a sweet nun... I certainly didn't experience the stereotypical Catholic school education that they talk about in movies and sitcoms.

    I think you guys made a very wise choice!!

  3. Thanks, Ladies!

    We have been praying very hard on this...the only other option for us was homeschooling. And with tuition...that might just become a reality in a year of two.

    I just wish I could better articulate that "feeling tone" that you can experience in a faith community compared to public school. And there are wonderful public schools...but for for those families wanting faith-filled education, homeschooling or parochial schools are the only place you are going to be able to give your child those soul-enriching experiences!

    Thanks for your votes of confidence!

  4. Thanks for stopping by Valerie - I too wish we lived closer together as I think we'd get along great! We share the same ethnic background, if I'm not mistaken! I'll post as soon as I know how today goes...such a bittersweet day....

  5. Best wishes to Mary and Ben as they start their new school year. I hope they enjoy their new school and make lots of new friends.



Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."