I woke up this morning with you all on my mind. I love your little family so much and feel I need to share what’s in my heart. I don’t write letters much anymore, but I wanted to reach out and share my experiences of Catholic education in the hopes you might be considering the pilot program at Sacred Heart for your precious children. They are our greatest gifts!
I was truly blessed to have received the education I had despite our colossal family of nine kids. Looking back at my life, I can genuinely say that the tradition of faith and Catholic education was the greatest and most valuable gift my parents ever gave me!
My parents struggled financially, Dad working two jobs while starting his entrepreneur business and mom at home caring for so many children was never easy. There were many sacrifices, such as never eating out in a restaurant or rarely ever going to a movie. We wore hand-me-down clothes or made our own; besides a few weekend trips to the family farm, there was only one real family vacation—all of us piled inside a VW bus singing all the way—to Walloon Lake in Michigan where my grandparents had a cottage. However, mom and dad knew the life-long value of faith, and Catholic education were the best gifts they could pass on to their children. Growing up, I couldn’t see this, nor did I recognize the daily sacrifices they made for us.
Sunday’s were special days! We dressed up in our best clothes, even if we wore the same dress Sunday after Sunday, and all went to Mass together. None of us ever missed a Sunday unless we were sick. We drove to Mass in one car, all sitting on top of each other, then took up an entire pew in the very front of the church. I was so happy and proud to be a part of our family. I wasn’t too young to recognize how important God, our church, and Mass were to my parents. We always blessed before meals, before going to sleep at night, and prayed the family rosary together.
I remember hearing the story of my dad’s family of six children and how my grandma had fervently prayed that she could send her children to Catholic schools as they too struggled to find the means. At the time, they were living on their family farm in rural southwest Missouri, but there were no Catholic schools in the area, so my grandma insisted they move the family back to St. Louis, which they did. When she realized they couldn’t afford the tuition, my grandma, who LOVED chocolate—told God that if he found a way for her children to go to the local parochial school, she would give up chocolate for the rest of her life. And that was what happened! All of her children graduated from Catholic schools.
I feel so blessed by the gifts my family passed on to me, so why am I such a believer in Catholic Schools? Where do I see the difference?
First and foremost, Catholic Schools go way beyond a public school education with a superior academic curriculum that fosters the foundation of a life-long personal relationship with God through religion classes, weekly Masses, instruction, preparation, and reception of Sacraments.
I am sure you remember how Sacred Heart’s classes are small, allowing for a small teacher-to-student ratio, so all students receive the time and personal attention they desire and need for personal growth. Individual talents and gifts are recognized and encouraged. And healthy self-esteem and confidence grow and develop under the guidance of the teachers. I recall how empowering the summer DECATS program was, exposing you to mythology, art and culture. Your dad and I could see your gifts genuinely come to life that summer as you blossomed in many areas.
The teachers at Sacred Heart are amazing! Loving, patient, and kind, they sacrifice higher paying salaries to teach at Sacred Heart School because they have a vocation that uniquely calls each of them to love and care for the success of all children. Several of your teachers still ask about you to this day.
Classes and outside work are designed to foster hard work, critical thinking, diligence, and perseverance in a loving environment of structure and discipline—invaluable gifts and training that embed patterns of self-discipline and success to carry each child forward in life. Children learn to follow the rules, accept responsibility, learn co-operation, respect others, and work together to better the whole. All of these skills are valuable assets gained through Catholic school education. In this supportive environment, students develop and showcase leadership skills.
Graduates leave Sacred Heart with a close network of life-long friendships and a high level of excellence in education infused with virtues. Students find meaning and value in their lives and reach their full potential as compassionate, contributing, life-giving members of society who are highly skilled, informed, tolerant, open, and just. So basically, the most valuable skills necessary for success out in the world!
I am not trying to pressure you as I know and respect this is a personal decision you both have to make. Still, I do hope you’ll both seriously consider the benefits, especially now with the Pilot Program—an extraordinary opportunity for private Catholic school education for your children.
Author: Nancy Parsons