My name is Donna Sanfilippo. My husband, Emanuel and I are the proud parents of three children, Manny, 18 years old, Santino, 16 years old and Talia, 6 years old. We are both graduates of St. Joseph High School. My husband is what we call a “lifer” having attended St. Joseph’s from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Thirteen years ago, we were faced with an ever-lasting decision with regards to my first son’s education. What would be the best academic choice for our son, Manny? Should we choose a private, catholic education or choose our local public school, Folsom Elementary? I am a teacher. Therefore, this was not to be an easy decision. I did my “homework” and went to both St. Joseph’s Elementary and Folsom Elementary and obtained their curriculum guides. After careful study of the guides, meeting and speaking with parents of both these wonderful schools, and much reflection on our own faith, it was decided that my son would attend St. Joseph’s Elementary. This once tough decision has never been looked back upon. It has not been a financially easy road as my second son followed his brother only two years later and my daughter has just graduated from kindergarten. Even though it has been a financial sacrifice, we have been blessed by our decision.
My oldest son has just recently graduated from St. Joseph High School. He finished within the top ten of his class and received a scholarship to Seton Hall University, just shy of $100,000. Other classmates of his were accepted into Princeton University, Brown University and University of Pennsylvania to name just a few. I believe the success of my oldest and no doubt to be followed by his brother and sister is due to the sacrifice my husband and I were willing to make all those years ago.
While attending St. Joseph Elementary both my boys were selected as part of the Johns Hopkins Program that allowed them to begin taking the SAT test in seventh grade. I believe this to be one of the reasons that he did so well on the SAT and my younger son did the same with the PSAT test. The elementary school has never taught students’ to learn or be taught for the sake of standardized testing scores.
St. Joseph Elementary has enabled my boys to be taught morals, values, spirituality, and academic excellence on an everyday basis that did not stop in 8th grade but has been nurtured and the same continued through their time at St. Joseph High School. There is a sense of family throughout both institutions that cannot and is not taken for granted. Our children are known by name throughout their education in both schools. They are not a number. They strive to do their best because they have been taught the same at home and it continues throughout the hallways of both schools. My husband and I have been blessed to be surrounded with parents who have the same goals and beliefs for their child as we do.
Yes, it has been a financial commitment but one that will allow my children to be the best they can be academically, and as people throughout the rest of their lives. To me, that is priceless.
Having made the decision to send my three children to St. Joseph for the past ten years was one of the best decisions I ever made. I saw a huge difference in the way my kids have been taught and I was pleased with the small classroom settings and loving, family-like environment. The teachers get to know each child individually.
Last week especially confirmed my decision when my senior in St. Joseph High School and my 8th grader had their graduation and 8th grade dinner dance and I experienced again how close-knit all of the children celebrating these events are and observed what a GREAT group of kids at both grades they are – And I believe it’s not only from parenting but due to the St. Joseph education and values.
It’s been clear that I made a great choice and my three children have been instilled with respect and kindness and Catholic values, and they’ve been given an education that will help them move on with confidence and intelligence.
Yvette Smith Samuel