Too Catholic? Not Catholic Enough?
One the many questions that the St. Thomas Aquinas High School Admissions Team often fields is related to religion. “How Catholic is St. Thomas Aquinas?” will ask many a visitor. Sometimes this inquiry comes because guests fear that their faith denomination (if not Catholic) doesn’t “qualify” them to attend STA. Or they worry that they won’t “fit in.” Contrarily, some prospective families wonder aloud if STA is “Catholic enough.” They recognize that, with society becoming increasingly secular, some religious schools have loosened their traditional standards and compromised by softening their mission statements. St. Thomas Aquinas addresses both these legitimate questions with confident transparency.
STA is a Catholic school. We are proud to be a Catholic school. We are guided by our Catholic mission, a mission that places the importance of being a caring community at the absolute outset of its focus. From that attentive care for each and every student stems STA's mission to develop each student’s unique gifts, strengthen his/her personal integrity and foster within him/her a commitment to justice, service and moral leadership. Thus, the ultimate answer to both earlier inquiries may be found directly in the St. Thomas Aquinas High School mission.
STA treats every single student as a unique and cherished child of God. As such, no student ever need worry that s/he won’t “fit in” due to his/her ascription to a different faith. As a Christ-centered school, our faculty, staff and students are expected to treat one another with respect and kindness. Differing opinions, ideologies, philosophies are educational tools in and of themselves; in order to form the whole person, as Catholic schools strive to do, it is important to explore other theologies and belief systems.
And on the other side of the coin: Are we Catholic enough? Absolutely. Ours is a community filled with faith opportunities and a Catholic presence at every corner. Our Chapel houses beautiful relics of the Catholic faith and hosts the Moms-In-Prayer and Rosary Club every week. Our Campus Ministry Center offers programs and volunteer/service opportunities for our students. We begin each day with scripture and prayer as a school community; each individual class also begins with prayer. We gather for Mass and prayer services, celebrate Catholic feast and holy days. We have a school chaplain who supports STA and avails himself for our reconciliation services. In this season of Advent, our school facility is adorned with Advent wreaths, Nativity sets, and Christmas trees. One cannot enter St. Thomas Aquinas High School without either passing under a cross and/or encountering a sign that states clearly, “Christ is the reason for this school.” We never have nor ever will sway from that guiding principle.
Prospective families seek one commononality in their private school search. They are looking for a college preparatory high school that will offer outstanding academics, opportunities in athletics and/or the arts, and a solid college preparation. Prospective families that are interested in a St. Thomas Aquinas High School education are seeking something extra. They are looking for a school that offers all the above-mentioned elements in addition to character development, a reinforcement of moral values, an attentive and caring faculty. They are seeking an atmosphere where students feel safe to ask questions, to debate, and to express their own opinions. In other words, families want a school that focuses not just on the head, but on the heart.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School does all that and more no matter if a child is Catholic or not Catholic. Our mission is to guide and be guided by the Gospel of Christ. And His is a Gospel of welcome and of love.