A letter to a Catholic School!

Have you ever considered sending your children to a Catholic school (K-8, or high school)? I have attached a letter sent to a Catholic (K-8) school in appreciation for everything the school has done for their children (their last son recently graduated from the school).

The author of the letter wishes to remain anonymous, yet I thought it might entice people to consider a Catholic education for their children. There are Catholic schools providing amazing (traditional) academic and faith educations–do not pass by this very robust opportunity for your children.

Thank you for reading,

Thomas Johnson

August 8, 2020

To the St. Mary School staff,

This letter serves as a heartfelt thank you to everyone at St. Mary School (and parish). Our family has been parishioners for seventeen years. During those years, three of our six children have attended the school. It saddens us that we will no longer have direct contact with the school, though we consider St. Mary church and parish our spiritual home. We have had our three sons confirmed, two sons received all their sacraments (Baptism, Reconciliation, First Communion, Confirmation), and one daughter recently entered Holy Matrimony, all in St. Mary Church. We have attended Mass in the church regularly (and during special events)—we have rejoiced in our blessings and prayed during times of sorrows. Our lives are attached to the Lord through St. Mary parish, church, and school.

There is much to praise about the school. We have never experienced the sense of family, the sense of belonging, as we have when our three sons attended St. Mary’s. Since it is a small Catholic school, the ability to make new friends and carve out ways to help, is an enjoyable, and yet necessary part of life. The school runs on the backs of a great staff, and yet, as with all Catholic K-8 schools, volunteers from families is what makes the environment unique. The following is a list of activities our sons participated in:

        • They were altar servers at weekday and Sunday Masses.
        • They were altar servers during weekly Lent Stations of the Cross.
        • They played on the school (grade appropriate) basketball teams for years.
        • They played on the school (grade appropriate) volleyball teams.
        • They were members of the school chess club.
        • They were long-standing members of the youth church choir.
        • They were members of the youth Divine Mercy Ministry.
        • They learned to play piano and organ through the Coordinator of Music and Liturgy.
        • They played piano and organ at various school events held in the church.
        • They were in the school play.
        • One son was on the school track team.
        • They were members of the 4-H club.
        • They were members of the parish Youth Ministry.

We were far from being alone in these pursuits—many students in the school were in as many or more activities. Each interest helped our sons grow, and our involvement and volunteer work throughout these many years helped us grow as parents and as Catholics. Participation at this level is often unheard of in non-Catholic schools, yet it is something that comes naturally to parents and students in the school.

Beyond the activities listed above, our sons received excellent academic and faith educations. They were members of the National Junior Honors Society, and they regularly scored at Honors and High Honors in their classwork. Their involvement in church-related activities helped them grow in their faith beyond normal limits.           

The staff, starting with the current principal, and the school’s administrative assistant, have crafted a strong future for the school. The teaching staff is highly competent, kind, and they strive to gain the most from their students—they do this while earning salaries far less than what is available in nearly all non-Catholic schools. The staff at St. Mary’s School are true warriors for Christ since they teach our kids year-after-year without complaint, in a Catholic environment that provides our children intangible gifts that most parents would strive to gain (if they only knew). A recent principal once said, “St. Mary School is the town’s best-kept secret.” He hit the nail squarely on the head with that comment, and it is our hope the school becomes much more visible soon.

As we contemplate our years at St. Mary School, we do so with a heavy heart. We will miss speaking with the teachers, to the school’s administrative assistant, and to the principal (they have become cherished friends). We will miss walking the hallways of a school that stretches back 95 years to 1925, the year the construction of the current school was completed. As Catholics, we are used to thinking of our faith across 2,000 years of history, so 95 years is a drop in the bucket; however, think of the children and the families who have passed through those hallways, traversed the stairs, sat in the classrooms, watched as the world and the lives around it came and went (the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, and so many other historic events). When a person walks into St. Mary School, they can see and feel the history, the thousands of sporting events, the thousands of students and families who have attended the school, the maintenance workers, the administrators, the priests and clergy—it is deep in history and deep in the faith and we feel enormously blessed to have been part of this school.

While we will miss having our children attend St. Mary School, we depart knowing it is in very capable and talented hands. Thank you to everyone in the school and parish, from the teachers to the school administrative staff, to the talented maintenance crew, to the parish office and its talented staff (including the parish Administrative Assistant, the Religious Education Coordinator,  the REP assistant, and the Business Manager), to the priests and staff who no longer work in the school, to those who have passed into the Lord’s hands while employed by St. Mary’s, to the deacons, to the parish priest, who has been a blessing to the parish and school throughout his tenure. Please know, your efforts are deeply appreciated. Each of you is a true blessing.

May God bless you with His Grace and Love always,

Family wishes to remain anonymous

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