Although the Spring Lake parochial school follows the same state standards as its public school counterparts, prayer and faith are weaved into almost everything they do, Principal Mike DeVitt said.
Each morning begins with prayer and intentions, and every day ends with either a prayer or reading Scripture. Prayers are also said before lunch.
“It’s an important concept,” DeVitt said.
This week, the staff and students in St. Mary's preschool through eighth grade are observing national Catholic Schools Week. That's when they celebrate their Christ-centered mission.
Each day of the week, Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, is reserved for showing respect for a different group of people — community, nation, staff, students and volunteers.
For Spring Lake resident Maria Ruiz, the school's faith aspect was one of the main reasons they decided to send their two children to St. Mary's. Another reason, she said, are the smaller class sizes, which range from 12 to 22 students.
“I think the kids receive more attention,” Ruiz said.
Although St. Mary’s offers a different learning experience, DeVitt said they face the same challenges as other schools. One challenge for the private school is that the surrounding public school districts appeal to more families, he said.
Another is the cost of tuition. DeVitt said that might be a factor that deters some parents from enrolling their kids at St. Mary's, which costs $3,000 a student each year.
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