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The SMSA Advantage

Dear Parish Family,

Everyone in Glens Falls knows that I am in love with SMSA. I adore that school and feel so

grateful to be in a place where Catholic Education is infused into the marrow of the community.

There are few Catholic schools that have had such a grip on the minds and hearts of the people of the town they’re in the way St. Mary’s Academy has. As one person told me, “A lot of parishes have schools, but St. Mary’s in some ways has been more like a school that has a

parish.” I think we all can relate to why someone would say that. I’ve been a teacher at two

other Catholic schools, and both were beloved in the community, but not the way St. Mary’s is.

In many ways, the Catholic faith is transmitted most effectively in the school setting. I rarely

meet a person who feels anything but grateful for the education and formation they received at St. Mary’s. They may have a story or two about Father French or Sister So-and-So, but they almost always end the conversation with something to the effect of: “In the end, the best parts of who I am I owe to my St. Mary’s Education.”

Today’s kids need and deserve St. Mary’s more than ever before. In a world where

unwholesome influences compete for our kids’ attention and social media has a bigger

influence on them than parental guidance does, the special alchemy of a St. Mary’s education makes an even bigger, more noticeable impact than ever before. The SMSA formula has three parts: (1) we elongate kids’ childhoods, (2) we form them as leaders early, and (3) we inoculate them against despair.

Elongating Kids’ Childhoods: We provide a safe environment where the values taught at home by the best and wisest parents are promoted and upheld in school. Kids are taught about virtues and vices and are held accountable for acting as though they were made in the image and likeness of God… because they are!

Forming Leaders: Because our school brings kids as young as three years old in community with other kids at the far end of childhood, students are given the opportunity to become role models in early elementary grades. Whether or not a St. Mary’s student has a younger sibling at home, they all have a school full of little, adoring faces looking up to them and requiring them to the noble, virtuous protectors and role models these little ones imagine them to be. Further, we provide daily opportunities for student leadership in student gatherings, school assemblies and Masses. Kids are introduced to public speaking in Kindergarten and have those skills reinforced again and again and again throughout their St. Mary’s educational career.

Inoculating Against Despair: With things like anxiety and depression at epidemic levels in our kids, every school is scrambling to develop programs of social and emotional learning to develop resilience. But I can promise you that none of them can compete with St. Mary’s,

because on top of social and emotional development, our program incorporates spiritual

growth as well. Some will tell you that’s not an essential part of human development, but

they’re dead wrong. With our Catholic and humanist values, our kids are able to address

unavoidable life issues like death and loss from the earliest age. They learn how to pray for

people, accept life on life’s terms and trust in the goodness of life and of God. They become

resilient and hopeful.

Cut out this Sharing Spot and share it with someone who has kids. Tell someone today about

the school that gives kids the childhood they deserve and the full life God wants them to have.

In service and faith…

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