Editor’s note: Natalie Rogers was selected as the winner of the essay contest, “What St. Mary’s Means to Me,” at the Greenville Catholic school. The contest has been incorporated into the National Catholic Schools Week for over 20 years.
What St. Mary’s Means to Me
What does St. Mary’s mean to me? As a 13-year-old, having been at St. Mary’s since K-4, ten years is almost three-quarters of my life! How can I sum up ten years in four hundred words?
Asking what St. Mary’s means to me is like asking a bird about the meaning of its wings. St. Mary’s is a part of me and a influential place to grow and learn.
When I enter the halls of St. Mary’s, the familiar smell of pencil shavings mixed with Elmer’s glue, the gleaming floors that meet the concrete walls, and the ringing of the hall bells greet me and I know that I am in an established school overflowing with caring people. From the hardworking, ever-smiling custodians with feather duster-filled pockets keeping our school immaculately clean, to the dedicated principals over the years with their morning prayers keeping everyone aware of God’s presence each day, I get that stable, homey feeling that all the students of the school love.
Within these familiar walls, I have many memories that make up only part of my St. Mary’s learning experience. Once in 5th grade, when a couple of my friends and I couldn’t open my juice pack, we had the brilliant idea to have one person squeeze the juice pack while I stabbed it with the end of a spoon. When it exploded on us, we rushed to the bathroom to wash off the sticky mess. Friends don’t let friends do stupid stuff… alone. St. Mary’s with its strong teaching of faith, values, and morals, has taught me how to pick good friends (the kind that always stick beside you) and how to be a good friend.
Another part of my learning experience enabled me to make educated guesses. Even if I didn’t always know the exact answer, St. Mary’s did a great job preparing me with a wide range of knowledge to make educated guesses. The teachers always had my best interest in mind and tried their hardest to share their knowledge. It has also helped me accept criticism with grace and understand that challenges make me a better person.
St. Mary’s treats everyone as a completely unique person, a rare jewel. God has a plan for everyone on Earth to get to heaven and St. Mary’s is definitely helping its students follow the path. I feel at home at St. Mary’s, but like every bird, I must leave the nest. St. Mary’s has given me the wings to fly on my own.