Mario Martinez: St. Mary’s has provided a foundation that has given both of my boys the gift of confidence and leadership. Both boys have been spiritually inspired to know and understand the gift of faith. The education St. Mary’s provides branches out to moral development, service to others and leadership skills. The teaching staff provides preparation for a safe and disciplined environment. Catholic education also provides smaller class sizes, strong academics and focuses on the child as a whole person. As a parent I desire to have a school that focuses on the entire child. I also value my children’s education at school to be and extension of what they are being taught at home. Providing daily exposure to Catholic faith creates a strong religious foundation. These tools that are being exposed at a young age will prompt my children to continue with church involvement as they get older. In addition to academic excellence, education is focused on educating the whole child- mind, body, and most importantly spirit. My boys are blessed to have the opportunity to be encouraged to talk about God and reminded of the Trinity in every aspect of the school. “In a Catholic school climate, mission, and purpose increases student attendance and achievement”.
The Schuessler Family: My husband and I feel it was a true blessing 7 years ago, when we were encouraged to send our daughter to St. Mary’s School. From the first day of pre-school, we have loved and appreciated every moment that we have been a part of this school and really this family. My husband and I are so grateful to the school for not only educating our children but for loving them every day. They feel at home when they walk in the doors. It is very comforting to us to know that they are well cared for in such a safe and welcoming environment. St. Mary’s has provided our children a solid education as well as a religious foundation. In the midst of the crazy and chaotic world we live in, there is great comfort in knowing that the school encourages and participates with the children in trusting and leaning into the only true healer of it all – our Lord. My husband and my teachings in living a moral life and trusting in Jesus does not get stopped at the door. They are encouraged to pray in good times and in bad, and most importantly for one another. We are a true family at St. Mary’s School and will provide for one another when needed. My daughter, who started 7 years ago and is now in the 5th grade, loves her school so much and proudly proclaims how much she loves her school every time she is asked what school she goes to. There is not one part of St. Mary’s that she would trade for public school. She truly knows how blessed she is to be attending her school. Our son, who is in pre-school, looks forward to going to school and has honestly told me on a Saturday morning, “No! It’s not stay-home-Saturday, I want to go to school!” That is heart-warming to hear come out of his mouth! In addition, I love that he knows how powerful God is – “He can lift the school and the house at the same time!!!!” That comes from not just my husband and I praying and teaching at home, but from his teacher reiterating that following Jesus is the way to go. St. Mary’s School is the answer for an amazing spiritual and academic education.
The Rutar Family: Our family’s journey with St. Mary’s Catholic School began 4 years ago when we registered our oldest daughter for Kindergarten. Since then, our two sons have also become students at St. Mary’s. It has always been easy for us to identify reasons to choose St. Mary’s School for our children’s education: high academic standards and achievement, a faith-based approach to learning, small class sizes, a state-of-the-art security system, and community involvement top our list. However, as our relationship with the school has grown deeper, we have discovered many other benefits that confirm our choice of St. Mary’s School for our three children.
Many of the reasons we have grown to love St. Mary’s School are less objective than things like high test scores or awards. It became very apparent early on that the love the teachers and staff have for students, and students for one another, is tangible at St. Mary’s. It is as if the entire school community comes together to support each student, and their individual strengths and weaknesses, to help them achieve their highest potential. Each victory is celebrated, and every setback is addressed compassionately. As a result, students at St. Mary’s soar. Relationships among families at St. Mary’s are also very close and supportive. Through the many volunteer opportunities, performances, and celebrations St. Mary’s families can come together in a unique way to encourage one another and support the teachers and staff as they inspire our children reach their highest potential. It has been a wonderful experience to gain new friends while watching our kids learn and grow together. We also appreciate strength that is created from the diversity among the community at St. Mary’s School, our children have been blessed by friendships with children from a great variety of backgrounds.
In such a close-knit community, it seemed as if Covid hit even harder than in other areas of our lives. Families and staff alike had to learn to lean on one another differently without coming together as a school physically. To say that St. Mary’s teachers rose to the occasion would be an understatement. Before the school closed in the Spring, seemingly overnight, each teacher had developed a plan and had the students’ work ready for lockdown. As the lockdown wore on, the teachers quickly adapted to e-learning and created plans for exchanging learning materials. Where many students and schools experienced gaps, it was a nearly seamless transition for St. Mary’s. As the focus began to shift to reopening the school for in-person learning this Fall, the administration organized a Covid-19 Task Force made up of healthcare professionals and community health experts, to ensure all public health regulations were followed and infection control measures were in place for students and staff to return as safely as possible.
As a member of the task force, I was acutely aware of what a monumental undertaking the staff of St. Mary’s School were facing, but I was also fully confident that their amazing team would tackle the challenge. Not only have the staff adapted to the unique demands this year has brought, but they have also eclipsed all expectations. In such an odd circumstance the students at St. Mary’s School continue to thrive, due to the tenacity and creativity of the staff. When the school could not celebrate prayer service and Mass together as they had in the past, the staff put their heads together and came up with the very workable plan of each class taking turns, a week at a time, in the chapel to celebrate Mass, which was also broadcast to the school; miraculously they could continue to celebrate Mass together as a school. The music teacher was even able to put together a socially distanced Christmas program that was viewed from home by families. It was heartwarming when this season felt so difficult, to see the joy of Christmas on our children’s faces. We look forward to celebrating our children’s accomplishments in person, and especially when we can all enjoy St. Mary’s School’s larger community events like Winefest and Fanfare for Education in their full capacity again. I am certain that the atmosphere of joy and connection, which are hallmarks of these events, will be exponentially apparent.
Even during these difficult times, St. Mary’s has made it a priority to support our community in various ways. This Fall the students collected canned goods and non-perishables for St. Joseph’s Food Pantry and currently students are collecting baby items for our community’s pregnancy resource centers. It remains a priority to instill a consideration and service to the needs of others within the children who attend St. Mary’s. Our children said some of their favorite things about St. Mary’s are climbing the rock wall in PE, playing fun instruments in music, learning sign language for various performances, practicing coding in computer class, science experiments, and reading to the residents of local nursing homes (pre-Covid), and visiting the library. Our daughter says her greatest accomplishments this year have been celebrating her first communion with her class (especially after a long delay from Covid), learning cursive, and reading at Mass. I think the most heart-warming thing each of my children love about St. Mary’s is “when my teacher prays with me”. There is nothing more valuable to us than the knowledge that our children are being taught each day, in school, to take their cares and worries to God. Prayer has become as central to their academic life as reading, writing, and math.
We have always considered St. Mary’s School an investment in our children’s future. The Fruits of the Spirit bloom when the soil is well-nourished. As we watch those Fruits blossom in each of our children, it becomes more apparent that St. Mary’s is the best place for them to learn and grow. As parents we have been given the gift of our children with the responsibility to teach them the love of Christ. At St. Mary’s School not only are children taught the love of Christ, but also how to carry the light of His love into the world; as parents there is no greater blessing we could ever hope for in a school.
The Herrera Family: The spiritual aspects of a Catholic education were the primary reasons we chose to send our kids to St. Mary’s Catholic School. It was an easy decision in the beginning, as we felt strongly about religion being a part of our children’s daily lives, and every year since that first the decision became easier and easier.
Choosing St. Mary’s has been a wonderful experience for our entire family for the past five years. Looking back over our time now, it is easy to pick out the quick things that come to mind such as the great facility, the smaller class sizes, and the wonderfully caring and giving faculty and staff. But beyond that, it is the family-oriented environment you feel the minute you walk into the building; it is the numerous programs offered to the students at every level; and it is the comfort in knowing that everyone is there with a shared purpose – our children’s success.
So many things have changed in our world over the past year, but one constant we have always felt strongly about is that our school was doing everything in their power to keep our kids safe and healthy, and they were taking all the necessary steps to keep moving forward with the educational growth of our children.
We are thankful we chose St. Mary’s Catholic School for our kids. We know they are better for that choice, and we know our family is better for that choice.