Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Why Catholic School - part 3

Next on our list was Pilgrim Lutheran School. Pilgrim Lutheran is a small Lutheran Congregation that is a " Non-member congregation in fellowship" with The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation.

Lacking the online reference capabilities that are available today I started asking around about Pilgrim Lutheran and the LCR.

I was told they were an offshoot of the Missouri Synod that had separated because they were dissatisfied with the way the LCMS was becoming too liberal in it's thinking. We were told that their school is very exclusionary, and that they as a congregation encourage all children to be educated in either their small school, or home schooled.

More conservative than the Missouri Synod? Heaven help me, how in the world was I supposed to ask them about Halloween?

We moved on down our list.

Next was Saint Ann School. My dear wife was born and raised right here in Ridgecrest. She attended Saint Ann School in the 1970s. For a variety of reasons, but mostly because of the nuns who taught there at the time, her experiences there were....umm.....let just say they were less than enjoyable. So when Saint Ann School came up on our list she was hesitant to even consider it. Well the list was getting short and if something didn't work out soon we were going to have to make some hard choices.

So we called the office and asked talk to the principal about sending our child to school there. We were immediately transferred to the principal who said she would love to show us around.

When we arrived for our appointment the Principal was out. So we were invited to have a seat in her office to wait for her return. Our position in her office provided us a view of the main office and a chance to watch the morning routine without being seen. The office was busy. There was a constant flow of children and parents through the office. Every person that approached that counter was greeted with a smile and called by name, no matter how busy the office manager was at the time. Everyone who came into that office had their needs attended to quickly and efficiently. But what caught my attention was the number of children who stuck their heads around the corner into the office where we were sitting and were disappointed that the Principal was not there to receive the smiles and hellos they wanted to deliver.

We have been sending at least one child to Saint Ann School now for 7 years. The School has had three different Principals in the time. Each of them has followed the same open door policy. Every child that walks into the school office pokes their heads around the corner and smiles, waves or says hi to the Principal if she is in her office. I like that. When I was in grade school, the Principal was not our friend. None of us would have ever gone out of our way to try and attract her attention.

Well the principal was really busy the day we had our appointment. She had a teacher out sick that day and was shuffling schedules with other teachers and filling in herself where needed. But she took the time to show us around and then allowed us to slip into the back of the first grade room to observe for a while.

We actually had to sit there for a longer time than I had intended because the seating arrangements in the classroom were such that there was no place to sit that did not have us in the peripheral vision of at least one child. So we waited until the kids eventually forgot we were there. But it wasn't hard to wait. The class was fun. The teacher was bright and engaging. Every student was involved and participating.

As we made our way back to the principal's office my dear wife looked around and muttered, "Wow, the buildings are all still the same, but the way they run things around here sure has changed."

Well after getting a few more questions answered by the Principal, and getting a copy of the school handbook to read we headed home. We thought that we had found a school that we would be comfortable sending our children to. But I wanted to read the handbook - carefully. So after a couple hours of reading my wife and I had changed roles. She was ready to sign our daughter up on the spot. But now I was hesitant. I knew that the Catholic education that my kid would be exposed to daily at school would conflict with the Lutheran teachings that she got at home and on Sunday. I was really unsure about how much of a problem that was going to be.

Fortunately for me there was a family at church who also sent their children to Saint Ann’s. So I called them and badgered them with questions for a couple hours. I was assured over and over that it wasn't going to be a problem. Sure the first couple years the kids occasionally get confused. But I was assured that by they time the finish school at Saint Ann’s my kids will know more about their faith than most kids their age that only attend one church. This has proven to be very true. Chaos and her religion teacher at school are always having side discussions about how what they are studying differs from the Lutheran perspective. Plus her Lutheran Pastor constantly singles her out in Confirmation Class when he wants an answer from a student because he knows that she will have the answer.

So we signed over our first-born child to Saint Ann School for the next school year. That was seven years ago. For the last three years we have had three children attending Saint Ann School. Sure there has been some confusing times with the differences between being Lutheran at home and acting Catholic at school. Noise was genuinely surprised early this year to find out that she wasn't Catholic. But we have not regretted this decision for a moment.

One final thought. We never got as far a checking out Emmanuel Baptist School. But they run a k-12 program where Saint Ann’s is a K-8. So we have one year to decide where Chaos will be attending high school. Emmanuel and the public high school are the only two choices in town. Gee do you think I should stop by the high school and try and get an appointment to see the Principal?


Why Catholic School Part 1

Why Catholic School Part 2

Other Reasons on why we send our kids to a Catholic School are here:

Why Catholic School

No comments: