Julie Risse | Children Learn and See Love of Jesus

Mother of 5
Three Students at St. Mary/St. Michael School, Clarks Mills/Whitelaw

Why St. Mary's/St. Michael's?

Well the Sunday school answer is -- because of Jesus! Yes, that was a part of our decision in choosing this school. To have my children be able to freely talk about, learn about and share Christ's love, outside of our home. But more importantly it was out of obedience to God. Let me explain.

My husband and I both believe that God blessed us with five beautiful children and gave us the direction to love them and raise them in a Christian home and to make decisions on their behalf to make them better adults.

Education is one of the keys.

God Had Different Plans

After a wonderful pre-school experience with our youngest daughter at St. Mary's, we were considering her staying through kindergarten. However, God had different plans. Last March, our second youngest daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia. She had been struggling in the public schools since kindergarten. We had asked for her to be tested for learning disabilities so that she could get the extra help she needed and didn't fall further behind. She passed the test meaning she didn't qualify for help. So being a classroom of 23 second graders left her no chance to succeed since her teacher had to attend to a large classroom.

We hired a private tutor to help her find different ways to learn. Praise God, after only a short time it was helping! However, the public school would not accommodate. We quickly learned by discussions with St. Mary's staff that this tutor was allowed to come right into the classroom and work directly with the students who needed help.

God began to show us the blessings of St. Mary's -- small classroom sizes, teachers willing to teach students where they are at academically and the opportunity to work one-on-one.

Teachers Learn New Skills

As the school year came to an end I was informed that our tutor would be teaching a class during the summer that would equip the teachers with the skill set to teach Orion-Gillingham (techniques to help Dyslexic kids). My husband and I were in awe that a small school would have the progressive mindset to see the importance of helping kids before they fall through the cracks.

I took that class last summer with all 5 teachers and the secretary. I was so impressed with compassion these teachers had for not only their jobs but for their students. There were so many ah-ha moments that week for me and the teachers. Realizing that even as adults we never were taught the reasons why we learn things certain ways. We left with an excitement to help students be the best they can be.

We were going to be obedient and follow what God had revealed to us. Our decision was to not only send our youngest to kindergarten at St. Mary/St. Michael's but our 2nd and 3rd graders would also be attending.

Children Show How Obedience Helps

How has obedience helped our family? Let me share my three children's Thanksgiving Day gratitudes. My 3rd grader (who never had much he liked about school) "I am thankful for my school." My 2nd grader (my dyslexic, who struggled in school) "I am thankful for homework.” My kindergartner, "I am thankful for my teacher." Talk about bringing a mom to tears. We have had the best school year we have had in 10 years! Why? Because my kids love this school, they love their teachers, and have made great friends.

So, Why St. Mary/St. Michael's? Because not only are my children learning about the love of Jesus -- they are seeing it lived out on a daily basis through the love their teachers have for them and their classmates!