BY KATHY DE JONG, INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT & OWNER OF COLLEGE IN 3-2-1
Last June was a bitter-sweet time for our family. Our youngest daughter, Brooke, graduated from Our Lady of Mercy (OLM) Catholic School during the annual graduation ceremony. Each student received accolades, and tears flowed as each one received his or her diploma. While we were thrilled by Brooke’s accomplishments and looked forward to her high school years, we knew that we were about to “move away” from our Mercy family that we had been with since 2006, when our daughter Mia started Pre-K. At the time of Brooke’s graduation, it just seemed like we were embarking on the next phase in life, thankful for our time at Mercy. Seven months later, our entire family can truly appreciate what the Mercy Experience has done for our children and the lasting imprint the experience has left on our children’s lives.
“I miss Mercy” is a common refrain from our children. Why? Because they now appreciate what a safe and first-rate learning experience they enjoyed. From Pre-K through 8th grade, our girls were loved, nurtured, and encouraged to grow by the entire Mercy staff. Each staff member and teacher knows every student’s name—nobody is a stranger. As a Mercy family, we developed long-lasting friendships with other families that share our values: the Catholic values of love, faith, and kindness to others. While the school practices the Catholic faith through daily prayer and religious study, students of all faiths are welcome at OLM, without the pressure to adopt the religion. The expectation for all students is a respect for every individual that transcends a specific religion. Respect for others is a value that is missing in our society and in many young students today.
While the OLM environment is ideal for learning, with small class sizes, a diverse student body and attention to the needs of each individual student, the educational development fostered in the Mercy student is nothing less than excellent. Let me explain how I know this.
The goal for each student as they step out of Mercy that last day of 8th grade is to be prepared for high school. Mercy did that far better than I could have ever expected. During the first week at the public high school, both daughters had virtually every teacher call them to the side after a “Wow” moment in the classroom and were asked, “Where did you attend middle school?” It was obvious to those high school teachers that these “Mercy students” were, on whole, better prepared for high school, as evidenced by their knowledge of the material, their ability to participate in the classroom discussion and articulate their ideas clearly, and most certainly, through their ability to write.
While OLM is academically challenging for the students, and dedication from the parents is necessary to support the students, the experience was worth every penny. The education at Mercy will serve our daughters for the rest of their lives. Mercy students emerge not only as good students, but as good people. You can’t put a dollar value on that.
We hope you will select Our Lady of Mercy as the home for your student. Know that your student may be challenged academically, maybe to the point of frustration, but part of the learning experience is that of perseverance and doing it right—not just doing enough to skate by. Learning how to learn, in a safe environment, will make education easier for them when they get to high school and college. I can promise you that. Visit Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School at one of their upcoming Open Houses, or schedule a private tour. www.OurLadyOfMercySchool.org.