St. Mary’s Catholic School, Mansfield
One of the most meaningful aspects of being a part of St. Mary’s Catholic School is the sense of community. Parents have remarked that “We love the spiritual and educational experience within the St. Mary’s family,” and “I believe in faith-based learning and here at SMCS it is a total education of the whole with a true sense of family and community.” This year, we have been not only embracing the strength of our community, but expanding our understanding of community together as teachers, staff, administration, parents, parishioners, and most importantly, students.
The St. Mary’s Class of 2018 takes time throughout the year to serve at the Mansfield Food Pantry called Our Daily Bread, organizing donations and sorting food so that volunteers can stock shelves and prepare for visitors each weekend. Twice per month, groups of students from Grade 8 visit the food pantry to aid the staff in their commitment to taking care of Mansfield’s most vulnerable citizens, thousands of whom receive assistance from the food pantry each year.
The experience last year at the food pantry opened the students’ eyes to the needs of society. Rachel, the President of the Class of 2017, stated, “It gave me a perspective of all the issues in my community. It allowed me to feel accomplished and grow in my faith.” Angelia, another alumni, added, “It felt good to give back to my community.” Many other students expressed gratitude for this humbling experience. They relished the chance to give back to the town that gave them so much. One parent said, “There are tremendous problems facing our world and it is important that young adults know they are capable of making things better.” The food pantry provides that opportunity.
Our Daily Bread has been an essential part of Mansfield for nineteen years. It provides the town’s citizens with the opportunity to nourish themselves and their children at no cost and eases the burden of food insecurity for hundreds of families. The pantry’s managers and volunteers work tirelessly to help their community. The students at St. Mary’s Catholic School are glad to continue this tradition this year and beyond.
At St. Mary’s, we aim to help our students become (in the words of our mission statement) “informed, responsible, and caring citizens.” Our Student Council embraces this aspect of our mission statement and, as the elected representatives of the entire student body, organizes charitable fundraisers, social events, and awareness campaigns throughout the year. These students model good citizenship, responsibility, and collaborative problem-solving to address the needs of members of the school, the parish, and the surrounding community.
The School Parent Association (SPA), of which all parents are automatically members, spends time each year responding to the ideas and suggestions of parents to make our school the best that it can be. Not only does SPA work generously to raise funds to support the school’s mission, they also find ways to connect our school more deeply to St. Mary’s Parish. This year, SPA will be encouraging all school families to participate in the holiday giving tree led by the Parish as well as offering the students ways to support ongoing charitable works of the Parish. Our students from Preschool to Grade 8 will be able to help in a variety of ways to support our thriving Parish, without which the school could not exist.
Our mission states that “We are committed to giving children the opportunity to develop the skills needed to attain their full potential as individuals,” and we would not be able to fulfill this mission if we did not embrace the challenges and needs of those around us and feel compelled to do something about it. Whether it is an experience at the local food pantry, partnering with parish holiday giving efforts, or helping raise funds to aid recent hurricane relief efforts, our students know how important community is, not only in our school, our parish, and in our town, but around our world.
If you or someone you know is interested in a Catholic education for your child, we welcome you to come visit St. Mary’s. A fall Open House is being held on Sunday, November 19th from 10:00-11:30. Please join us to meet teachers and staff, take a personal tour of the school led by our Student Ambassadors, and see how you could become a new member of the St. Mary’s community!
Excerpts of this article were adapted from an article written by three St. Mary’s Catholic School students from the Class of 2017: Kathleen Malone, Sam Honor and Mary Woods.