COLORADO SPRINGS. The high school experience shapes much of who a person becomes. Academics help students achieve college goals and discern future career paths. Sports and clubs teach teamwork and hone leadership skills. And at faith-based schools, like St. Mary’s High School, students are also encouraged to explore and build their relationship with God.
Families who are exploring their high school education options are encouraged to experience St. Mary’s during an Eighth Grade Shadow Day and Parent Open House. The first visit day of the academic year will be Wednesday, Oct. 17. Families can find all of the information about these events and register online at www.smhscs.org/admissions.
Choosing Catholic education is a serious commitment for families, especially when public charter schools provide an alternative to traditional public schools. However, those who have experienced the St. Mary’s difference — in fact the difference a Catholic education makes — feel the commitment is worth the sacrifice.
St. Mary’s President Rob Rysavy grew up attending Catholic schools in South Dakota, from first through 12th grade. As he reflected on his experience with Catholic education, Rysavy said he knew early on that he had received a superior education, which helped him gain entrance into the U.S. Air Force Academy and have a 28-year career in the Air Force.
While the academics were certainly important, Rysavy said even more important was the concern that the priests, nuns and lay teachers had for his human and spiritual formation, a realization that came to him later.
“It was that human and spiritual formation that carried me through the difficult and imperfect times of my life,” Rysavy said. “Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that it took me so many years to fully recognize that my teachers were deeply concerned with, and committed to, my ‘whole person.’”
The faculty and staff at St. Mary’s also take a “whole person” approach to education. Students are encouraged to excel academically, but academics are only part of the equation. Rysavy said he and his wife, Michelle, have seen the results in the lives of their oldest four children.
“We have seen the whole person impact of Catholic education in general, and from St. Mary’s in particular, with our oldest two children who started out in Catholic home school and are graduates of St. Mary’s,” he said. “They were both well equipped to find their way in this world, and Michelle and I love the kind of people they both are. There are many adjectives we could use to describe each of them, but a much simpler way to paint a picture of their presence in our lives is to say we love the complete, the whole person that they each are.”
The Rysavys’ two middle children are Corpus Christi alums and current St. Mary’s students; Mark is a junior, and Elizabeth is a freshman. And their two youngest are being homeschooled in the Catholic tradition. His Air Force career allowed the Rysavy family to experience Catholic education at all levels across two different states. What they found was a consistency in the care and concern that the Catholic school teachers have for their children. As a result, they are seeing their younger children develop through the whole person approach.
“Time will tell, but I know my parents are tremendously pleased with the investment they made in Catholic education for my sister and me,” Rysavy said. “And Michelle and I are profoundly grateful for the impact and influence Catholic education and St. Mary’s High School had and is having on our children. I encourage parents to discern what Catholic schools can do for your family, and I’d encourage any parent reading this pick up the phone and schedule a visit with your Catholic school.”
For more information about the St. Mary’s admissions process, contact Jane Cummings, director of Admissions, at email@example.com. Learn more about our local K-8 Catholic schools at http://ucsdcs.org/.
(Amy G. Partain is director of communications for St. Mary’s High School)