When I was growing up, I went to Catholic School for 12 years, as did my brother and my sister. My parents probably sacrificed to send three children to Catholic School, but I don’t remember ever hearing a discussion about where we would be educated. Whatever discussion happened must have occurred long before I would have heard or understood the point. We went to Catholic School, and almost all of my friends went to Catholic School, too.
Pretty much the same thing happened when my children started school. They went to our Parish school and most of their friends did the same. It was a sacrifice, but we thought of it as an investment in their future. That investment was definitely worth it.
But now, it isn’t so cut and dried. When the Sisters taught most of the classes, the cost of our education—tuition—was far less than it is now, even considering inflation. We have lay teachers with education degrees and teaching credentials to pay for, and they deserve a living wage though we pay much less than a public school. The cost of Catholic School is often beyond the budget of a family with multiple children, even if both parents are working. Catholic Schools all try to keep tuition as low as possible, but we need to cover salaries and basic utilities. Fundraising—sometimes, it seems like relentless fundraising—covers the rest. Or it doesn’t. And then the students suffer when we have to let an aide go because her meager hourly wage is still too much for our budget.
We have a strong tuition assistance program, and we give out all the assistance we can. For many of our parents, it isn’t enough. Thankfully, our Parish has a solid Faith Education Program for children who do not attend our school, and I bear witness to the good work they do. But once or twice a week is not the same as having exposure to Religion classes taught daily and the values of the Church and the Lord intertwined with our students’ lives. We also are blessed with good parents and a Pastor and Parish who are role models to all the children. Still, St. Thomas School must offer an education at least as good as that in the public school. We strive to do better because we provide not only iPads, Art, After-School activities, Sports, and everything else a public school provides, but we also nurture students spiritually, academically, emotionally, socially, and physically in cooperation with our Parents. We are able to provide these advantages because our class-sizes are lower than most public schools. Your child is not a “Hey, You,” or a number, but a person known and loved by everyone on campus. The Lord told us to send the little children to Him. We are daily obeying His command..
As we enter the last half of the school year, I want you all to know how much we appreciate your gifts and sacrifices to our school. What you do is priceless, and we thank you. Bless you as you help us continue our work of excellence and faith.
God Bless You, Dr. Dian Pizurie, Principal