Jim and I will be forever grateful to the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks for their impact on our family.
When we sought out the school, fourteen years ago, we had no idea of the real influence the schools would have on us. We were looking for a partner who believed in educating the whole child. We wanted to see our children flourish in an academically strong school but more importantly we wanted them to grow spiritually. We wanted to raise men that would be inspired to give back to their community. We wanted those six plus hours that they were away from us to mirror our own belief systems, to feel like our own home. In Immaculate Conception Grade School and then later at Monroe Catholic High, we got that unquestionably.
We started our children on a path of learning in a community that provided and valued structure, prayer, vigorous academics, and service. Even now, when Andrew and Matthew return home from college, one of their first stops is to reconnect with their school family. They visit teachers, attend sporting events, and check in on their Kindergarten (now 1st and 2nd graders) buddies.
When they talk about their future plans, they talk about serving their community and they are passionate about making a difference in the world. I think they are stronger leaders and faith-filled men because of the influence of the gifted teachers in the school.
We are often amazed when we hear our third-grader talk about the five characteristics of a Jesuit education and we feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to have sent our children to a school that embodies these characteristics, that of Being Open to Growth; Intellectually Competent; Religious; Loving; and Committed to Doing Justice.
You can walk through the campus and see these characteristics posted throughout–a visible mission statement. You will also find them in more tangible ways throughout the annual curriculum, in their studies, modeled by their teachers, within the Mass, and actively communicated within school service projects that are carried out at every grade level.
There are definitely sacrifices that we make to choose this level of education for our children. Sacrifices made too by the gifted teachers and administrators at the school–truly, they could be paid more in a public school. Even with recent tuition increases, the school does not charge the full price of educating each student. Teachers and parents will tell you that it is worth the sacrifice to be part of the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks. The value of this education is immeasurable. We are grateful beyond words.
Patty & Jim Walter are the proud parents of two Monroe Catholic alumni who currently attend Saint Martin’s University, in Lacey, WA, and University of Mary, in Bismarck, North Dakota. Their youngest son, a third grader, is currently enrolled in Immaculate Conception School. Family pictured below.