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Testimonials

St. Mary’s School has a lot to offer families in the Morris area. But don’t take our word for it. Here are some testimonials from alumni and current families.

Jay Dietz

When we became parents, as the case is with most young couples, we were so excited to guide this little person through life, and we were determined to avoid making any mistakes that might cause them any unnecessary trouble. We did the research and we planned to feed them the right foods, buy them the right toys for brain development, read them all the right books and only let them hang out with the right kids. And, I would have to say, we did a really good job – for a couple weeks. Then we started making mistakes, and I’m here to tell you, we have made A LOT of MISTAKES!

One decision that we made, though, has proven to be anything but a mistake. That was choosing St. Mary’s School for our children’s elementary education.

Some of the things that parents should consider with any school decision, such as: Class sizes, class offerings, test scores, classroom technology and of course, delicious lunches, were all things that we looked at when making our decision. But, what ultimately made us firm in our decision of sending our kids to St. Mary’s was the Faith Based portion of this education system.

In today’s world, where Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are being held up in our society as people that you should aspire to be like, it is crucial that we give our kids a solid foundation to stand on as they get older. If we teach them, repeatedly during these early, formative years, what our values are and what Christ wants from them while on this earth, it will serve them well when they are older.

Proverbs 22:6 says it best: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

We started our experiences with St. Mary’s School over 10 years ago, and by the time our youngest finishes his time at St. Mary’s, we will have been part of this family for over 15 years!

One of the biggest advantages of being part of this family is that our children are being taught values during their day, even when we aren’t there to do the teaching. They are surrounded by teachers and administrators that not only teach them solid education fundamentals, but they also guide them toward being good, Christian people as well. In the beginning, the idea of these lessons staying with them was good in theory, but we now have two children who have moved on to the high school, and the proof is truly in the pudding. We see them practicing the lessons they learned in their youth and following the examples of those who helped guide them. They are excelling in their education after leaving St. Mary’s, but the most rewarding part is that they are just good people.

I would also like to extend a huge thank you to the people of this parish. Without your continuing support of St. Mary’s, they would not be able to provide this wonderful environment to the children in our community. Over the years, you have been there to purchase jelly beans and raffle tickets, volunteer in our classrooms, play our games during Septemberfest, attend our dinner and auction, and most importantly, offer your prayers for our school’s mission to continue, and I personally want to say “Thank You” for your continued support.

If you are a young family that will be sending your child to school in the future, I would encourage you to learn more about St. Mary’s School. You are always welcome to visit with any family that is part of St. Mary’s or stop in to visit with our teachers and principle. You will be glad that you did!

Please join us downstairs following mass for the children’s Catholic Schools Week Breakfast. Thank you for your time and attention. May God bless you all.

Pilar Eble

Married to Michael Eble;  four boys at St. Mary’s school: Ben, Eli, Miles and Oliver

My husband and I both are from Louisiana. I am from a large tight knit catholic Cajun family, not very different than most Minnesotans. Actually one of things Minnesota and Louisiana has in common is they are both “home grown” states. They both have the highest rates of the adults who live in the state were born in the state. Most Minnesotans and Louisianan don’t leave or return home to raise their families.

So when we moved to Morris over 10 years ago to start my husband’s career as a professor at UMM, I thought it was temporary and I would go home to my support network to raise my family. Well, life happened and our family began to grow here in Minnesota.

Once my kids started school, things began to change. St. Mary’s began to provide for my kids what I felt was missing in their lives. What we found at St. Mary’s is group of teachers, staff and administration, and parents who care for my kids as their own, like family. I know my kids are getting an opportunity that is hard to come by in another environment. I have lived in different states, and have been exposed to many different types of schools, and I do not take for granted the value of what St. Mary’s is providing.

The teachers and staff have had a huge influence in the lives of my children. The best way I can explain it is teaching is a vocation for them, a true calling. I have partners in raising my children, not just in their academic endeavors but more importantly, their character, their work ethic, their values. Each day the kids at St. Mary’s are learning compassion, love of God, love of self and love of neighbor.

My kids are getting a strong spiritual base that I believe will carry them through high school and more importantly life. This is a task I could not do by myself, and I thank God every day I don’t have to.

When it’s 40 below zero and my mind goes to the idea of moving home, I always think about St. Mary’s and how blessed my kids are and what a wonderful school we have. My kids love going to school every day, and have so much pride in their school, I realize this is not a given and we are luckier than most.

I know God has my family in Morris for a reason, and we have been blessed many times over.

Brian and Holly Giese

4 Children; Katie-graduate, Derek-grade 6, Matthew- grade 4, Justin-grade 2

We have four children, three of them attend St. Mary’s currently. We have been a part of St. Mary’s School as parents for 7 years. Holly is an alumnus of St. Mary’s, attending from 1981-1988. As a St. Mary’s graduate, we knew what a great experience our children would get from attending school here. As parents, we can see all of the extra effort the teachers put in, above and beyond, what they are asked to do for our children. Along with all of the fun activities that are planned for the kids they are challenged in the classroom to do their best. They are encouraged to go beyond their regular school work and excel. The children are taught respect for others and themselves. We love the faith based education because it goes hand in hand with teaching respect, empathy, service, and putting others before oneself. As parents, we love the family atmosphere of the school- the close relationships between the families and the close relationships the students develop with the other students and the teachers and staff. The students care for each other. Some favorite memories from St. Mary’s are the fall trips we’ve taken with the school. We’ve explored some great destinations and learned so much. Recently, Holly accompanied our oldest to the Wolfridge Environmental Learning Center. What a great time and brought back so many memories of her own trip to ELC. We love St. Mary’s!

Chad and Natalie Braegelmann

4 sons, Tyler, grade 6, Riley, grade 4, Calvin, grade 2, Kolby, 4

This will be our 4th year at St. Mary’s.

Chad and I both went to private, Catholic elementary schools and never thought twice about sending our children to St. Mary’s School when we moved to Morris just before Tyler entered school. We really enjoy the atmosphere at school- there’s an accountability there, the older students have a responsibility (and seem to cherish the role!) to watch out for the younger ones and model good behavior. We have asked both our children on multiple occasions if other students are mean to each other, if there’s bullying, etc. and they usually look at us like we are crazy!

We really love the individualized attention that our sons receive at St. Mary’s. Everyone is a name, an individual and is helped along at their own pace, being challenged when and how it is appropriate. If they are struggling with a concept, I know they will get the extra help they need. When they are breezing through a subject or concept they are challenged with more difficult work.

There is a real sense of family at St. Mary’s. One of our favorite memories was after the Christmas Program, when there was a drawing for prizes. A 5th grade boy’s name was drawn many times and our son Tyler’s name had not be drawn. The boy decided to give Tyler one of his winnings so he took him up to help him look- he ended up giving Tyler his nerf shooter that he had chosen earlier and said that, “he really wanted the mug” that Tyler was going to end up with. The boy did that all on his own to help our son out and the look on our son’s face and the other boy’s face was amazing!

I love St. Mary’s!

Katelyn Ohren

A very sad to be leaving 6th Grader 

I can’t list every one of the things I love about it. I am a graduating 6th grader. I have been here for 7 years. I am so sad I have to leave for 7th grade next year.

Some of the things I love is the class sizes. At St. Mary’s the classes are smaller; around 15 kids have been in our class over the years. I also love the field trips to S.W.E.L.L., the Science Museum, other Fall trips, and the one everyone looks forward to, Wolf Ridge ELC. You go to ELC when you get to 6th grade. We fundraise so we don’t have to pay as much to go. ELC stands for Environmental Learning Center. At ELC we learn about the environment and how to save it. We go to ELC for a school week. One of my favorite things at ELC is the teachers once they learn your name they remember it. They also help you and guide you through parts of work that you may not understand.

One thing that just about every former St. Mary’s student will tell you that you will miss is the food. I believe here is awesome. Speaking of food, at St. Mary’s we do A.R. (Accelerated Reader). You earn points by reading books and taking quizzes on them. If you get 300 points you can plan a lunch with the cooks. In A.R. the bigger and harder the book is to read the more points it is worth.

Now my most favorite thing about St. Mary’s is that you do not have to be Catholic to go to this school. I am not Catholic and I love this school. There is an Alternative Religion that you can go to while everyone else has their religion. While they have Mass we have Chapel.

I have many great memories from St. Mary’s that I will always remember.