COLORADO SPRINGS. Next month, school choice in Colorado will be in full swing, and residents do have many schools to choose from. But there is only one Catholic high school in southern Colorado, and there are many reasons for families to choose St. Mary’s High School. At St. Mary’s, students are inspired by faith, empowered by knowledge, and united by community.
Known for its college-prep academic program, St. Mary’s regularly turns out graduating classes that send 100 percent of the class to four-year colleges, many with impressive full scholarships. St. Mary’s graduates are attending or have attended MIT, all the service academies in the U.S., the University of Notre Dame, and Stanford University, just to name a few.
However, St. Mary’s is more than academics. With a student body of approximately 260 students, St. Mary’s is big enough to provide students with wonderful opportunities, yet small enough for those students to be nurtured to excel. Students are able to delve into their interests and passions, whether those are sports, debate, art or drama or all of the above.
“At St. Mary’s our children were free to discover who they were called to be,” said Gail Hickert, parent of three St. Mary’s alumni. “St. Mary’s develops the whole person by providing students opportunities to explore their interests in ways that bigger schools can’t offer.”
Of course, everything that St. Mary’s does is inspired by the faith that guides the school’s mission. The four years of theology instruction builds on what many students have learned during their years at the diocesan Catholic elementary and middle schools in Colorado Springs, allowing St. Mary’s students to develop a deeper understanding of their faith. For Colton Calandrella, who graduated from St. Mary’s in 2013, theology class was instrumental in helping him understand the Catholic faith and claim it as his own.
“The true value of the theology courses is the academic approach they take to the subject,” Calandrella said. “It is not a mindless brainwashing but rather a presentation of the materials that allows the student to adopt the faith as his/her own. Never before had anyone bothered to explain the logic and reasoning behind so many Catholic traditions and beliefs, so to hear a rational, step-by-step explanation of why Catholics believe what they do was an invigorating jump-start to my faith.”
St. Mary’s President Rob Rysavy, who is also the parent of two St. Mary’s alumni and two current students, believes that giving his children a Catholic high school experience is an investment in their future, regardless of where their journey takes them.
“We have seen the whole person impact of Catholic education in general, and from St. Mary’s in particular, with our oldest two children,” he said. “They were both well equipped to find their way in this world, and Michelle and I love the kind of people — the complete, the whole person — they each are.”
When the spring semester begins in January, St. Mary’s will offer several opportunities for prospective students and their families to see firsthand what St. Mary’s has to offer. First up is a fun event for area middle schoolers — Middle School Trivia Night, which is set for Jan. 12 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The event is open to current fifth- through eighth-graders and costs $10 per student, which includes a sub sandwich dinner. Trivia Night is the largest of St. Mary’s middle-school events and allows students to compete in teams of four for cash prizes and the Trivia Night title.
Shadow Days and Parent Open Houses resume in mid-January, allowing prospective families to see St. Mary’s in action and speak with current students about their experiences. Seventh-graders can also check out St. Mary’s during Seventh Grade Visit Day in April. Then, in May, middle-schoolers are invited to St. Mary’s Spring Dance and are encouraged to participate in STEM Camp and various sports camps over the summer.
More information and registration for the all of the above mentioned events is available on the school’s website at www.smhscs.org.
(Amy G. Partain is director of communications for St. Mary’s High School.)