Kira Delaney has children at The Summit Academy in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
How long have you been at your school? What grades are your children in?
We have been at the Summit Academy for four years now. Our oldest daughter is a Senior this year, then we have a daughter who is a Junior and lastly, one in the Middle school, she is in 8th grade.
How did you learn about your school?
We learned about the Summit Academy through Julian Malcolm and Patrick Looby. They are friends of ours and Pat Looby taught our kids at St. Patrick school as well as piano.
Why is it worth paying tuition when public schools are free?
When we started a family, my husband, Rich, and I decided that our first goal of parenting was to get our children to Heaven. Having our kids enrolled in Catholic school seemed like the first step to meet that goal. Also, we believe in education for the sake of learning and development of the person; not for doing well on standardized tests and regurgitating facts. Paying tuition for an exemplary school is an investment in our children and their future.
What made you choose your school over other schools in your area?
We chose the Summit Academy because it would give our kids a classical Catholic education. We also liked the approach of giving students freedom and responsibility initially and assuming they would be the best version of themselves in order to keep those privileges. Finally, we liked that there were enriching outdoor experiences available; caving, biking, camping, skiing etc. as well as opportunities for service projects to give back to the community. All of those things together begin to form a faithful, well rounded, thoughtful person.
How would you describe your school to a parent who is considering applying?
I always say, "It's the best thing ever!" The academics are rigorous and the kids have an amazing understanding of what they are learning. The information is not just handed to them, but they learn to work for it, learning all the while. Another thing I love is that the classes are structured in such a way so if they are learning about a topic in history, they will read a book from that time period in literature. This really contributes to the students overall understanding. Also, there is a lot of cultural enrichment in various field trips (i.e. to see a play in D.C and then out to dinner) and the outdoor excursions are great to build confidence and self reliance.
What are your thoughts on your school’s teachers? Your children’s peer group and other school families? Catholic identity? Culture? Curriculum?
I cannot say enough wonderful things about the teachers at the Summit Academy! They are all brilliant, and most use the socratic method in their classes but they are all different and bring different assets to the classroom. They are dedicated to teaching. Another benefit is that most of the students at this school are eager to learn, and it is a good environment for learning to thrive; especially considering the teacher is not using valuable class time to get a student to pay attention, discipline them, etc.
The peer group and other school families are wonderful. Since all families have specifically chosen to be at this school, we all have many things in common such as our faith being important to us, and a desire for our kids to grow and become the most they can be. The kids are kind and encouraging to each other and many students have friendships beyond their current year i.e. Freshman, Sophomore, etc.
At a recent field hockey game, the opposing team's parents sought the Summit parents out on the sidelines, asking about our school since our athletes and fans were so kind and well-behaved...even though we were losing by quite a lot!
What is the most important reason you stay at your school?
The absolute first reason is the education the kids are getting. It absolutely blows me away. Secondly, is the strength of their faith. Obviously they get their faith taught at home, but after attending the Summit Academy they are ready and eager to defend their faith and live it even if it is not what 'everyone' is doing. Finally, the high school years are so short, and the time you have to teach and influence your kids is coming to an end (not completely but soon there will be college, and many other influences) and having an education from the Summit Academy sets the students up for a lifetime of success.