“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” – Sydney J. Harris
The emblem on our students’ uniforms is so much more than a rendering of an architectural element of our church. It’s also a metaphor for the way we shape our students and the way they in turn see the world. Our philosophical approach to teaching includes the phrase, “As builders of the faith community of Saint Mary’s Catholic School, we believe learning is the process of acquiring and applying knowledge, thinking critically to solve problems, and stimulating curiosity through inquiry and discovery.”
According to Mr. Schaefer, the window logo has been on student uniforms for at least sixteen years, maybe longer, adding “I’ve never really thought about it before, but a window is quite different from symbols chosen by other schools to put on their uniforms.” In literature and in popular culture, Mr. Schaefer notes that windows and natural light can be interpreted as symbols of future advancement and success.
There’s no better place to observe the future outcomes of a Mighty Monarch education than by reading alumni updates in the quarterly Monarch Messenger publication. No matter how you measure forward progress or what decade you draw from, our former students’ trajectories share common foundations of love, support and discipline that have served them well years after they graduated from Saint Mary’s.
Since our founding in 1967, several alums have later returned to St. Mary’s to serve as faculty members thereby affording our students an even more unique perspective through their “double paned” Monarch experience. Currently, grade 4 teacher, Mrs. Carleton (SMCS ’89) and grade 1 teacher, Ms. Mugford (SMCS ’09), are great examples of twice crowned Monarchy.
Beyond the classroom, staff members, parishioners and school families also serve as windows through which others may peer into our faith community. For many, their first glimpse of Saint Mary’s Catholic School comes from Mrs. Anne Leigh Bisese, our longtime Admissions Director who is also the proud parent of two Mighty Monarch alumna, Caroline (SMCS ’15) and Ellie (SMCS ’12).
On Wednesday evening, Mrs. Bisese was joined by faculty members, PTO volunteers and five middle school students who helped welcome 25 prospective families to our Fall Open House. Our guests were treated to school tours and time to chat one on one with the many SMCS representatives in attendance.
At the end of the evening, I asked four of the middle school students if they thought their window on the world was any different than peers who do not attend Saint Mary’s.
Their response? Yes.
All four agreed that their Catholic faith was a lens that made them view the world a bit differently. Three of the four specifically credited their teachers with encouraging them to consider multiple viewpoints and thinking more deeply before forming opinions. And finally one offered a rather profound way to describe the view afforded by a Monarch education:
“It’s like other people see through regular window panes and we see through stained glass. It’s just a little more beautiful.”