St Francis de Sales School: A Journey | An Essay by Meredith Modelski (January 17, 2018)

St. Francis de Sales School has shaped me into the person I am today, and there are many reasons why I value my educational experience at the school. It is very easy to take privileges for granted, but when I stop to think about the opportunities St. Francis de Sales School has granted me and so many other children, I learned to appreciate my educational experience even more. If a student attends St. Francis de Sales School, he or she will get a valuable education, will become prepared for high school, and will gain beneficial social skills and relationships.

One of the most important necessities people often overlooked is a valuable education. Sure, all of us here have received some sort of education, but have the things you learned in school helped you to better yourself in the future? Hopefully, your answer is yes, but at St. Francis, you won’t even need to hope; it is guaranteed that the information a student learns will help them later on in life. Not only do the children at St Francis de Sales become well-rounded students from the diverse classes, but they will also learn at a pace that is right for them. With multiple levels of each class, students can understand and grasp information at a rate that suits his or her learning capabilities.

Keeping up good grades is highly praised at St. Francis de Sales School. Since many students are taught to value the importance of keeping their grades up in elementary and middle school, they will be prepared to do the same in high school and in their years beyond. During my years at St. Francis, I have learned the benefits that come with carrying about the work, time, and effort being put into school. Because of St. Francis’ praise and encouragement to maintain commendable grade averages, I know that I will be determined to do just as well, if not better in my high school years, and years beyond.  One positive thing about the grading scale provided at St. Francis de Sales School is that it is more stringent compared to other schools, so the students that attend SFS are likely to easily succeed when they are presented with a more lenient grading scale in the future.

Along with education provided at SFS, the social skills and relationships that I’ve developed during my time at the school has had a positive effect on my life. Since the children at St. Francis de Sales School range in ages from 3 to 14, I’ve learned to socialize with many different children of all ages. The sports and clubs offered at SFS have helped me make so many friends during my experience here. I am involved in many school activities, but one that has really shaped me as a person are the musicals. I always had a goal to be in the musicals ever since I was very young at St Francis. Little did I know that I would end up creating so many friendships that would last forever just by being more involved. I developed a strong interest in singing, acting, and in general, entertaining just from being in the school musicals; they are always something to look forward to after the school day. Being in the oldest grade of the school automatically makes the 8th graders role models for the rest of the school students. This helps us to set a good example for the younger grades and to learn to be more aware of our actions.  Since all children are welcome at St. Francis de Sales School, the students here are taught to be kind and accepting towards each other. Something that brings nearly every student closer together is the faith-based education. If you send your child to St. Francis, they will develop a closer relationship with God. Not all schools offer religious education, but St. Francis de Sales School can help any student grow closer to his or her faith. When I came to St. Francis in first grade, I didn’t know much about my own religion. Now as an eighth grader, I have a much better understanding of my religion, and I have grown closer to God throughout my journey at St Francis.

Some people believe there are too many sacrifices families must be willing to take they are sending the children to St. Francis de Sales, but there are many more positive effects and benefits overall. Money is often a big concern, but the overall decision is worth it in the end and will benefit the student greatly in the future. I know that my parents feel they made the right decision when they sent me here, and I feel that the benefits of the great education outweighed any negative concerns. Another worry among incoming students at St. Francis maybe that they will have to wear uniforms. Coming from a school that didn’t have uniforms, at first I wasn’t all that excited myself. I can now confidently say that uniforms actually have had a positive effect on my life at school. Uniforms reduce the amount of time it takes for students to get ready in the morning, and they can eliminate judgment that comes with comparing clothing.

Overall, by sending your child to St. Francis de Sales School, they will receive a valuable education, they will become prepared for high school, they will gain valuable relationships and social skills. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to learn and grow here for the past 8 years. It has taught me that I can accomplish my dreams and goals if I put my mind to it. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” St. Francis has taught me to believe in the beauty of my own dreams that I can accomplish anything. Children will thrive with St. Francis de Sales’ positive environment that will benefit them for their entire life.  I know I have, and all of the lessons I’ve learned here at St. Francis will stay with me forever.

SFS Principle Kyle Schmitt's Speech

St Francis de Sales School Principal, Kyle Schmitt, spoke at all masses the weekend of November 24th & 25th to reflect on the Blue Ribbon Award. Below is his speech.

The occasion for my remarks today are to give thanksgiving. As some of you may have heard, or seen from the new banners flying on the parish buildings or in the narthex, our school has won its second Blue Ribbon Award. We won the award in 2007 and now again in 2018. I am here today to share with you what that means exactly.

I want to start with some facts. There are approximately 130,000 total public and private schools in the United States. Of those 130,000, 349 schools received the Blue Ribbon Award this year. That equates to 0.2% of the schools in the United States. 300 of those schools were public, and 49 were private. Right now, we are among the 49 best private schools in the country. That is what this award means and that is what we are claiming and celebrating today.

The Blue Ribbon Award program began in 1982 and since it’s inception over the last 26 years less than 9000 schools have received the distinction at some point which is ~14% of the 130,000 schools. Please note that a school is only eligible to apply once every five years. Of the 9000 schools that have received the award, less than 10% of schools have received it more than once. As a two-time award winning school we are part of that very select group.

Theresa Grom, our assistant principal, and I had the honor and privilege of traveling to Washington DC last week to accept the award at the ceremony. But it is the entire parish community that has won this award. We all had a hand in this achievement. God deserves the first praise. All the glory and honor are ultimately his and his alone. Our primary reason for existing as a Catholic school is to bring our students to know, love, and serve God the father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit. That is our mission.

Without the support of Father Ryan and you, the parish, our school would not have won this award. Fr. Ryan’s unwavering commitment and support are inspirational. It takes a sizable investment of financial resources to build and maintain the program of academic excellence we have at St. Francis de Sales. Tuition, paid by families, covers a bit more than half of the total cost of education per student. Fundraising contributes a modest amount as well. The remainder of the investment, which represents about a third of the total cost per pupil, is provided by Fr. Ryan to the school on behalf of the parish. The parish investment allows us to not only keep our doors open, but to remain affordable to all families that seek a Catholic education, and to invest in achieving excellence in our programs.     

And of course we would not be a school of excellence without our wonderful students and parents, our dedicated faculty and staff, and our many generous volunteers, donors, and other special friends - many of whom were able to join us two Wednesdays ago in a celebration party.

So thank you for having me here to share this news with you and thank you for your support of our successes. After mass, I will be at a table in the gathering space if you’d like to stop by, ask questions about the award, chat about your alumni story, or buy Christmas Cards designed by our art club students.