It Takes a Village – by Ellen Celestial

By June 23, 2020Uncategorized

If anyone were to ask me when I started looking into the local school options after our oldest son was born, I would actually be a little embarrassed to admit how early I did so. He was still in diapers. But I am a planner, and could also make a career out of being a worry-wart. Every parent wants the best for their children, but every parent has different ideas on what “the best” is for their children.

Neither my husband nor I are originally from Pennsylvania and had no preconceived ideas about the local school options. After attending several Open Houses, reading on-line reviews and talking to several sets of parents and students from the multiple local parochial, private and local public elementary schools over the years, we ultimately decided on Corpus Christi.

We suspected that paying tuition for elementary school for 9 years for one child may result in our family having to sacrifice in other ways, and even more so for a second and/or subsequent children, but our family values education and felt that the smaller class sizes, religious values, and STEM opportunities were in-line with our focus. We were willing to make those sacrifices because we have enough, and our faith that God will provide is strong. We have a roof over our heads, reliable vehicles, jobs to go to, food on our table, and can usually manage to take our family away on a vacation from time-to-time to spend time together and recharge. Corpus Christi has been well-worth any sacrifices that we aren’t aware that we may be missing.

We left the Kindergarten registration day confident that we were making the right decision and since that day I have nothing but positive stories to validate that decision. Days into the school year after an early morning drop-off at morning extended care, my son was clinging to my leg, crying and begging me not to go. Mrs. Menicucci came to the rescue and I was reluctantly able to slip away. I endured the 25-minute drive to work, feeling sad and guilty for running out, and also remembering that he hadn’t done that since the toddler room at his former daycare. I was anxious and I just wanted the day to be over so I could go pick up my Kindergartener. But when I arrived at work I saw that I had missed a voicemail while my phone was on silent mode. It was Mrs. Menicucci assuring me that after engaging my son in conversation, he was absolutely fine and that she understood how hard it is and wanted to put my mind at ease. It did, and that voicemail changed my whole day.

Our decision was even further evident after an unfortunate incident with our family only several weeks later. My husband became unexpectedly ill and was hospitalized. As a full-time working mother with two young children, my plate was very full and I was running on prayer and adrenaline. I managed to get the boys ready in the mornings, shuffle them to their schools, take them for afternoon hospital visits with their Dad, all while taking care of the minimum of the household chores in the evening. I also had to prepare to do the same the following day, while trying to hide my panic about their Dad’s condition. One day I received a note from Ms. Martin and a picture from Mrs. Dolaway, Mrs. Flohr and Mrs. Stonehill: “[Your son] had some worries today, so we pulled him out of class to talk and it seemed to make him feel better.” I was elated. Sure, for a few seconds I was disappointed in myself for not being more attentive to my children’s emotional states during this time, but like they say, “it takes a village.” It was a relief that he had other adults to trust and to talk to. Furthermore, only four weeks into the school year, his teacher recognized that something was different about his demeanor that day.

We now have had children at Corpus Christi for 3 years and I have so many more positive stories to share. I would not give up the family atmosphere, the friendships made or the academics our children have gained for anything. That saying is on-point: to raise a child it does take a village. We picked the right village.