I begged my parents to send me to public school for years–they never budged.
I’m from a moderately small city in Michigan, and my high school was surrounded by dominating public schools, all of which offered more classes, more sports teams and more clubs.
For a long time, I was completely consumed by the idea of all that was “more,” but as my days in private schools are coming to an end, I find myself looking back at certain educational experiences with an immense amount of gratitude.
I grew up in a neighborhood with kids who all went to public school together. In high school, I found myself going to more football games and dances at their school than my own, because, let’s be real, nobody wants to go to a high school dance where 40 of the 140 students actually show up.
I became increasingly irritated at my parents for making me stay at a school with zero opportunity for AP courses and little to show for their “college prep” status–at least that’s what I thought.
While my parents assumed I wanted to leave because I had more friends at the nearby public school, I seriously thought that I wasn’t getting the education I needed to be successful in college.
Well, it turns out I was ready for college, and I’m speaking on both the academic and personal levels.
I graduated with a class of 32 students, and, of those 32, I was in the same class with 13 of them from kindergarden to senior year.
That’s a long time with the same group of people.
In a matter of 13 years, with few exceptions, I became a professional at reading my classmates. I knew every tick, every trait and every study strategy of my brothers and sisters at St. Philip Catholic Central.
It didn’t stop there.
Because of the classroom sizes, the students could read the teachers as well. We knew them like the backs of our hands, thus ensuring excessive button pushing with little apology.
It’s important for me to address the intimate size of my school, for the small classrooms and decade-plus relationships contributed greatly to my educational experiences.
Within that little brick school, as I wandered throughout three straight hallways, a single gym and locker room, and a cafeteria filled with red rolling chairs and round tables, I became an individual that I am proud of.
Because of the opportunities to volunteer, I learned the importance of developing relationships with all types of people–that is something that has helped me expand greatly at my time at John Carroll–with little fear, I’ll add.
When it came to track and field we were missing two things: the track and the field. Because our school didn’t have the funds or space to have our own stadium, the track team practiced and held meets down the street at an inner-city public school. I learned the importance of collaboration and support on that track as I practiced with individuals who still inspire me years later.
In those small classrooms with my classmates, I learned the true values of love and passion. The individuals at St. Philip are some of the kindest, most beautiful souls, and although I still believe I would have been successful at the local, public school, I am truly grateful for my parents’ decision to provide me with private school education.
So, to the now young-adults I grew up with who will probably never read this, thank you for providing me with years of growth and acceptance, love and encouragement and WWKGD (What Would Kathy Grosso Do (Kathy Grosso being our principle)) bracelets.
Oh, and to my mom and dad, you’re welcome for finally giving up and embracing all that the STP Tigers had to offer.