Lessons Learned

I went back to school this week! Yes, it’s true: not to my alma mater, but to St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol, Connecticut.

Founded in 1966 by the Archdiocese of Hartford, St Paul Catholic High School is a co-educational college preparatory school. Why did I go there? I was intrigued by what I’d heard about this school’s very special philanthropic mission of giving back to the community and how they nurture that as a way of life for their students. And luckily they invited me to come and learn more.

From the moment I arrived, I was impressed, as everyone was so gracious and welcoming to me. Despite it being my first day back at school, I felt a connection like I’ve never felt before. I was in a dream as this was no regular high school: it was a place that encourages a passion for the arts, individuality and a safe environment to learn.

As you would expect from yours-truly, I dressed the part – in their uniform, of course! Even though I had a camera chronicling my day everyone was perfectly willing to let me sit in on classes and experience for myself how St. Paul establishes such high expectations and challenges students to be the best they can be.

During my day I sat in on classes for French, Algebra, Forensic Science and more – the latter was extremely interesting and sure beat any typing or home economics classes of yesteryear! These kids are sMARt, and boy was I reminded of how much I have forgotten since high school! Especially in Algebra – it just confuses me, and even more today than ever. I tried to keep pace with everyone, and even ran to Religion class but I was still late, but lucky for me I did not get detention. Thank you, Sister!

Throughout the day I learned that there is a continuous focus on giving back to the community. In fact, senior students (like me for the day) are encouraged to participate in the community service programs where they actually go out into the world to serve. Unlike volunteering, the service hours are scheduled as part of the school day, fostering the idea of “making time” to serve. In addition, there are school projects like making Christmas cards for Haiti, giving a Christmas party for low-income housing projects, a United Way Food Drive, and more, all which get the students involved in both local and global charities.

How to sum up these aMARzing students? Charming, literate, engaging, polite, socially aware and charitable are just some of the words I could use. If these bright minds are a glimpse of what the future holds for us, well, we have nothing to worry about.

Now that’s an education that will last me a lifetime.

*This photo of Megan and me was taken during last period in Mrs. Kendrick’s class. Goodbye St. Paul Catholic High School – and thanks for not giving me any homework! Can’t wait for grad!