Education for the heart, mind, soul; growing up in Catholic school

By Ariana Yamasaki
March 16, 2018

In the United States, children are required to get an education through some sort of schooling. The students can be taught in an actual school or be taught from home. Some attend public schools and some attend private schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the fall of 2017 around 50.7 million students attended public schools and 5.2 million are attended private schools.

Cabrini University is a private Roman Catholic university. The school is mixed with students who attended Catholic school their entire lives, those who attended public school their entire lives and those who went to both.

“I liked Catholic school because of the smaller community it had. That is a reason I came to Cabrini to further my education,” Maria Merino, a sophomore education major, said.

Public vs private school student to teacher ratio. Infographic by Ariana Yamasaki.

According to the NCES, the ratio from student to teacher in private school is 12-to-2 and in public schools, it is 16-to-1. The smaller classes give the teachers more time to focus on each student individually. When there are too many students, it is hard for the teacher to help every student equally.

Merino went to public school up until she was in the sixth grade. A difference she noticed was that the classes were much smaller than at her public school. Merino also noticed that when she switched from public to private school, she was extremely behind.

“Both Catholic and public school run on different curriculums, so I was extremely behind my first couple years,” Merino said.

The NCES administered the National Assessment of Educational Process which showed that students who attend private schools score above the national average. This tested the knowledge of private and public schools from grades four, eight and 12.

“Growing up, I never second guessed anything. I just thought prayer, church and everything I was being taught was simply the right thing to do,” Hayley Thompson, a sophomore communication major, said. Thompson has been going to Catholic school her entire life. In the eighth grade, she felt that the school forced their beliefs onto her and this lingered on through her high school years as well.

“It just didn’t feel like my choice,” Thompson said.

After feeling like she did not have a say in what she was being taught to believe, Thompson started to sit back and reflect on what she believed in and what she was taught to believe in. After doing this, she felt that her faith had become her choice and she had more trust in God than ever before.

“Being raised in Catholic schools all my life has given me the privilege to view religion as something beautiful and view God as more of a friend whom I can talk to always and loves me unconditionally,” Mignon Toppino, sophomore religious studies major, said.

Toppino was grateful to have grown up in Catholic school her entire life.

“Going to Catholic school has given me the education of the heart, mind and soul,” Toppino said.

Around campus, she is involved with clubs that revolve around her Catholic teachings.

Toppino is a peer minister here in Cabrini’s Campus Ministry. She is also involved in the university’s chapter of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as an ambassador.

“Having a Catholic education my whole life has shaped me into who I am by giving me a framework that brings my faith into action,” Toppino said.

Marlena Prisco, a sophomore education major, has also been attending Catholic school her entire life. She feels that attending Catholic schools has shaped her into the person she is today.

“I feel that it’s culture as well as moral and educational structure have molded me into the independent, well-rounded and responsible individual I am today.”

Attending public school versus Catholic school had its differences. In the public school system, students can be taught about a religion but not taught a religion, while in Catholic school, they are taught the religion.

“Moral reflection and realization held a prominent presence in all subject areas, many lessons relating back toward religion,” Prisco said.  

Video by Emily Miller.

Ariana Yamasaki

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