Students get a taste of Catholic school
BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Oct. 29, 2012 at 5:29 a.m.
St. Joseph Shadow Day
Madelyn Simmang, 13, toured St. Joseph High School along with another public school student to see what a faith-based education is like.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: St. Joseph Open House, including a campus tour and presentations from each department
• WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15
• WHERE: St. Joseph High School Gymnasium, 110 E. Red River St.
She was no stranger to religion in the classroom.
Madelyn Simmang, 13, didn't have to go to school Monday, but found herself in a discussion of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," regardless.
The Cade Middle School student was shadowing her longtime friend Kathryn Janecek, 14, at St. Joseph High School as a part of the Catholic school's annual recruitment day.
Admissions coordinator Jen Korinek said the school has capacity for about 20 students to tour St. Joseph on Shadow Day, but only two were able to make it.
Monday was a teacher work and professional development day for the Victoria school district, which made it an opportune day for the faith-based school to invite public school students to sample their classrooms, said Korinek.
Seated on the outskirts of Gina Bludau's English class, Madelyn shared whispers with Kathryn.
From the nest of blonde-haired students in her corner, Kathryn shared her notes with the visiting student.
Students in the class took turns sharing parts that stuck out from the migrant worker drama.
For those who haven't read "Of Mice and Men," this is a spoiler alert.
Lennie Small, a mentally challenged character, is murdered at the end of the novel, by his best friend, George Milton.
Bludau, a Christian, posed the question: Was Milton's "mercy killing" part of God's plan for Small?
The overall classroom consensus was, "No."
Some help may be on the way for more students to attend private schools if a voucher system is approved.
Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the newly appointed chairman of the Texas Senate Education Committee, strongly supported state vouchers for private sector schools during his campaign.
The vouchers would put about $5,000 into the pockets of families with children attending private, charter or faith-based schools.
For the 2012-13 academic school year, tuition is $8,750 at St. Joseph.
"I certainly am in favor of choice of schools," said St. Joseph High School principal William H. McArdle.
If the voucher system was passed, it would be important to see what the ramifications would be, he added.
"As a faith-based school, we would never want to change our mission," McArdle said. "We're certainly blessed to have students from homes where education is a priority."
Madelyn, who has attended private and public schools, said she values the close-knit nature of the St. Joseph community.
"It's more like a family here," the Cade Middle School student said.
After the bell rang, a girl in a pink hoodie embraced the visiting underclassman before rushing off into the corridor.