Madeline Burleigh is an eighth-grader at St. Mary’s-St. Alphonsus Regional Catholic School in Glens Falls.
Madeline Burleigh is an eighth-grader at St. Mary’s-St. Alphonsus Regional Catholic School in Glens Falls.

My Catholic education started when I came to St. Mary’s-St. Alphonsus Regional Catholic School (SMSA) when I was 5. Going to SMSA has given me a different experience than I would have had in public school. The school is smaller, everyone knows everyone else and Catholicism plays a large part in each day.? This environment has had a positive impact on my life and the lives of other students. I believe this impact will affect and inspire me for the rest of my life. I am pushed to be the best person I can be, always feeling supported by others while learning about God. 

Being at a Catholic school has inspired me to try to be my best self every day. I am surrounded by so many positive influences and messages that guide me to do the right thing and help others. Being here shows me how lucky I am. We are asked to donate to the food pantry at the church each week. This bit of charity reminds me that others don’t have as much as I do and I should be grateful for what I have. This also gives me the opportunity to help others, just as Jesus did and wanted us to do. Jesus sacrificed so much to save us. He could have chosen to be rich, popular, to have power on earth and so much else. He instead chose to teach and guide us. Jesus?was sometimes unpopular and even hated, but he didn’t change so he could be accepted by society. He persisted in doing the right thing and bringing God’s message to us. This is incredibly humbling and inspires me to follow Jesus’ example because God has done so much for us and we should try to be worthy of the gifts He has given us.? 

Also, I always feel supported here. Everyone is taught to love others and be kind. This message of kindness has a positive influence on others. Everyone tries to be fair and kind. I am part of a large community that extends all over the world. This means there will always be someone there to pick me up if I fall or if I need someone to talk to. This support is something that affects everyone, as it brings about an encouraging atmosphere. It gets people ready to learn and helps students to enjoy the school day more. The students are motivated to do well and be kind because they are in an environment where they are lifted up and surrounded by love and support. Going to SMSA is like having a second family.? 

Going to a Catholic school has taught me so much about God. Every day we pray for the well-being of others. We go to Mass on Fridays. In religion, we read and discuss the Bible. This has increased my knowledge of Catholicism and helped me understand the Bible and my faith more. As a result, I have grown into a better person. I will carry this knowledge of my faith and the lessons learned about it for the rest of my life, always there as a source of peace and knowledge about doing the right thing. Learning about God will help me in the future to teach others the same things I have learned. I can spread the message of kindness that God offers.? 

When I leave SMSA and head off to high school, I will carry the lessons I learned with me for the rest of my life. The school’s motto is, “In a joyful Catholic environment, we create the ingredients for success: powerful minds, prayerful hearts and helpful hands.” This motto represents what it means to go to a Catholic school. It is an experience I will never forget. 

Madeline Burleigh is an eighth-grader at St. Mary’s-St. Alphonsus Regional Catholic School in Glens Falls.