A Preschool Parent View:
Why did you choose St. Francis Preschool?
Alum viewpoint from both Goshen and Downtown:
It had snowed the night before I first visited the Goshen campus. I was then in the fourth grade at Chance and most of my friends were fifth graders, who were already looking at middle schools. So, after consulting my mom and dad, I felt that I too needed to graduate from Chance, but just a little early.
If my memory serves me right, St. Francis was the last school I shadowed. I don’t remember much about the classes or the lessons taught (would you?), but I do remember the only thing that really mattered to a fourth grader at the time: the people. I was led into a lower school classroom and sat with a bunch of characters who would later become my oldest friends. And how did I know that they were going to be good friends? They had also seen Austin Powers.
Unsurprisingly, my most vivid memory of that day was our recess. When the time rolled around for the teacher to unleash the wild storm that is a hive of excited fourth graders, Charlie Pollard, Chase Carlson, Cameron Brown, and perhaps a few others asked our teacher if we could pull out some blue mats to go sledding down the small hill that divides the sheltered basketball court from the soccer field. It didn’t take much persuasion: I have to admit that we were pretty darn adorable as fourth graders. So we dragged our blue mats out into our little artic tundra. We were the only ones out there, flying down that small hill in the biting snow. It all melds together now, as age has made the memory a collage of tossed, arching snow, soaked gloves, a medley of laughter, and a rich, blue-tinted world. It didn’t matter that none of my fifth grade friends at Chance were going to St. Francis. I knew that this was where I needed to be.
And because of that decision that I made ten years ago, I now possess a trove of precious memories from both the Goshen and downtown campuses. There was the time myself and a few other good friends woke up in the middle of the night during the eighth grade lock-in and talked until the morning broke; the time myself and a few other friends spent a weekend making a movie in which we (in a very Pythonesque manner) reported the Battle of Hastings; acting under Mr. Gabhart’s direction; finally learning to appreciate math under Mrs. Wallace’s guidance; reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close in Mr. Ashley’s English class; having “musical transcendences” as a sophomore in my friend’s basement; lifting with the ULS crew; and even sitting in the hallway when our class lost a friend. Not a night goes by that a memory from either campus passes through my thoughts, silently reminding me of the road I’ve taken to get here.
It wasn’t always good fun—I faced challenges and messed up quite a few times. And there were some people I knew that rubbed me the wrong way and I may have been the same for them. But looking back on all those times, I’ve realized that all the people, kind and not so kind, who made their way into my life helped me better understand my own character. Whether it was their patient understanding or their intransigent opinions—all of it built me into the man that I am today. In a universal way of speaking, we all help to shape everybody else. I’m just lucky enough to say that the people who raised me were part of the St. Francis community.
I did not speak at my high school graduation and it remains one of my greatest regrets. I don’t believe I would have focused on charging my class to go out and to succeed nor would I have speculated all the different places we would go. I think of that speech as one of the few chances in which I could have tried to give back what this community has given to me. I can only hope there may be another time in which I can express my gratitude for the education I received as well as the unfathomable love I harbor for our now united school. In the case there isn’t though, I give you great thanks. Thank you for leading me where I am today. Thank you for allowing me to get lost. Thank you for tossing me down and bringing me up. And thank you especially for shaping me into who I am today. I can only hope I did the same for you and that we may cross paths yet again.
—Bo Clay G’07, ’11
Thank you from a Goshen alum:
On an unrelated, vague, and probably often expressed to you note, I want you to know that I often think of the Big South Fork trip. Particularly over the last couple months, images and moments from that trip come back to me and give me a kind of warmth. I was honored to be a part of your travel group; it was a moving time. All of my days at St. Francis were. I really love college, but I do know now more than ever that Louisville is my home, and (more specifically) I often think of St. Francis as the epitome of home. It was an amazing place to grow up, and I think it is largely responsible for all of (what I think to be) my best traits. Hope everything is going well there, and I’d always like to hear about!
Thanks for your time and giving me an opportunity to ramble,
— Max A. G’09
Thank you from a proud alum parent:
My son Adam L. (’13) has just completed his first month of college at Hampshire College. I want to share with you that he’s doing exceedingly well, and I want to thank you for providing an education that helped him prepare so well for this new phase in his life.
Hampshire College is a school that respects and encourages individual thought. The school motto, “Non satis scire” (“to know is not enough”), reflects the school’s value of deeper understanding and empowered action over simple knowledge. In this environment of individual thinkers, Adam feels comfortable and at home. He told me he was surprised to discover that he’s better prepared to think about complex issues and tease out subtle strands of thought than most of his classmates. He is enjoying the cross-pollination of ideas in his various classes, where the creative work he does with electronic circuitry informs his understanding of political systems. He’s not afraid to express different ideas in class than the ones held by the majority of his classmates – even those of his teachers. He spends part of his free time doing independent reading to expand his own understanding of the issues discussed in one of his classes. In short, he is thriving.
I know that Adam’s success comes from a variety of sources, not least of which is Adam himself. However, I know he would not have been as successful as he is without the amazing education he received at St Francis School. He had the good fortune to go to a school where his original ideas were valued and encouraged – and challenged. He read original texts as a matter of course, and only rarely opened a textbook. He received a seminar style of education where factual information was balanced within a context of cultural values, ethics, history, and his own personal experience. In essence, he received a college liberal arts education at a high school level.
I want to thank you – everyone from head of school to individual faculty members – for keeping your promise. You delivered an education that was at least as good as what was described in the marketing materials and school tours. You said your graduates would be happily surprised by their comfort with college level work – and that is exactly what Adam has expressed. You articulated the ideals of a progressive education, and then delivered on them. In every meeting I had with faculty and staff, I always felt that you saw Adam clearly as a person as well as a student, and that you valued him regardless of whether he was thriving or struggling in class. I’m grateful that you gave Adam the tools with which to think effectively. He will use these tools the rest of his life. Thank you!
Miriam K., Parent of Adam L. ’13