Thomas Verbicky
Thomas Verbicky

I did not always attend Catholic schools and I think this fact gives me a unique perspective as to the many benefits that a faith-based education can bring.

My first introduction to Catholic schools was at St Mary’s Institute. That school experience laid the building blocks of where I am today. It was a big change when I moved to SMI. I quickly realized that I was learning more and that I felt safe in my new school.

When I was in sixth grade, I transferred to Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School. Although I transferred at the end of the first semester, I immediately met some great friends that I still have today as a senior. I felt welcome at NDBG immediately and found a new family in this faith-based community.

One of the things that I think puts this educational experience apart from many others is the teachers and staff. The teachers here show their passion for teaching daily. They care about the students and it shows in the hard work they put in every day to keep our curriculum stimulating and comprehensive. For example, I always feel well prepared for my Regents Exams because of the great experience I get in the classroom every day.

The biggest benefit of my Catholic school experience thus far would be the community. The school is filled with people who are like-minded in their faith and in their dedication to the school family. From the staff to the students, everyone here is kind and well-meaning. People try to help one another and work together in ways that are seldom seen in this world. I feel so fortunate to have had this school experience.

My time at NDBG has taught me that the physical structure does not make the “school.” I have learned that despite the fact that our building is old and often needs repair, the walls around us do not define us. We have risen above leaks, floods and fires. Now, we have taken our school and gone virtually too due to the ongoing pandemic. Through it all, the school community has stayed strong and stuck together. This sense of family and community is present in the current students and alumni who continually support our school. This is just another unique and special quality of NDBG.

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a very difficult year. Together we have experienced things that most of us never would have thought were possible. As we head toward 2021, we all have hope that better things are coming. I know that this school community will continue to work hard and stay committed to making every day great. No matter what is going on in the rest of the world we will stand strong and get through these rough times together as a “family.”  For that, I am eternally grateful and forever blessed.

Thomas Verbicky is a senior at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School in Schenectady.