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The future of STMHS as diocesan school is encouraging


I admit it, as an alum of St. Mary’s, I have a bit of a soft spot for the Catholic school, which is why I’m thrilled that as of today, the high school is now a diocesan school with diocesan resources.

I attended St. Mary’s from grade 1-12 following a half-year of kindergarten in my native New York and a half-year at Juniper Park in Westfield. St. Mary’s was – and is – a great choice for quality education. As a Catholic, it was normal for me to attend Mass both with my family on Sunday morning and with my classmates on special occasions throughout the year. And while the Church teachings were part of our studies, you didn’t (and still don’t) have to be Catholic to attend the schools.

More than Catholicism, what’s taught is human kindness and understanding. When I was in high school in the late 80s, St. Mary’s required every student to take World Theology to learn about other religions. And never once, in my recollection, was there any chapter or lecture about Catholicism being better than any other religion. It was coexisting at its best and we were encouraged to learn about our fellow humans and think for ourselves.

Like other STM supporters, I was heartbroken when it was announced the high school was closing more than a year ago. For more than 100 years, St. Mary’s has been a place for education and family, a place for students to call home. I am proud to say that while I took an objective seat and reported the news of St. Mary’s, many of my friends and former classmates were among the supporters that rallied together to “save” the school. That is what family does in times of need, and that is what St. Mary’s is – a family.

Whether you graduated in 1946 or 1986 or 2006, STM alum are all family. It is encouraging that Bishop Rozanski is taking the high school under the wing of the diocese. The St. Mary’s preschool, elementary school and high school have all been parish schools – operated and funded by the parish with guidance from the diocese — but with little to no funding or resources from the diocese.

As an observer of the recent situation, it seemed unfair that St. Mary’s High School was not allocated the same resources given to Pope Francis High School. I am hopeful that with this new governance, and the passionate leadership within the school, STMHS will be afforded those advantages and be home for many more students for many years to come.

Keep the conversation going by sharing your thoughts with me at [email protected].


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