Nicholas and Maruska Healy
Nicholas and Maruska Healy have a child at St. Jerome Institute in Washington, DC
How long have you been at your school? What grades are your children in?
Our son is finishing his first year at the school. He will be in tenth grade in the fall.
How did you learn about your school?
Through friends who are associated with the school in various ways—board members, teachers, and parents of current students.
Why is it worth paying tuition when public schools are free?
It is worth paying tuition for a wholesome Catholic vision of education. We do not think public schools can offer what Saint Jerome Institute offers to each and every student—a relationship based on trust between the students and their teachers, a rich curriculum that builds upon the culture of the family, encouragement to grow in faith and virtue, and a profound sense of wonder.
What made you choose your school over other schools in your area?
The vision of the school, its Catholic culture, excellent teachers and a rich curriculum were all very attractive to us. The size of the school played an important role in our decision as well. We were attracted to a place which was big enough to create a sense of community but small enough to allow the students to get to know one another. Coming from a homeschooling experience up to this point, we liked the idea of smaller classes, with teachers being able to attend to the particular needs of each student.
How would you describe your school to a parent who is considering applying?
Saint Jerome Institute is a very unique school. It is a place deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition. The curriculum is rich and inspiring. When students begin their studies, they embark on a journey together—every subject is connected in some way to the whole. The curriculum is rich and demanding, but very rewarding. The students gain a sense of wonder and gratitude.
What are your thoughts on your school’s teachers? Your children’s peer group and other school families? Catholic identity? Culture? Curriculum?
We have been deeply impressed with the Saint Jerome Institute teachers. They are not only extremely well educated, but also living their faith and sharing their love for Christ with the students. All of the teachers seem to be aware of the overall vision of the school. They seem to understand how the whole curriculum fits together and are capable and willing to help each other; if need be, they can teach each other’s subjects. This is a rare gift—an experience found similarly in a family where people naturally need to help one another. The teachers spend lots of time with the students as well, during lunch breaks, or after school, offering help and encouragement. It is good to have role models for our son.
Saint Jerome Institute is deeply Catholic, rooted in the traditions of the Church. Each day begins with the Liturgy of the Hours. The entire school attends Holy Mass once a week together. The school celebrates major feast days of the liturgical year with feasting, games, singing and competitions. The curriculum includes all major subjects, but offers additional areas of growth as well: music, art studio, a rigorous physical education program, and ‘refectum’. In their refectum period, students work on an area of interest, such as playing a musical instrument, learning a foreign language, improving their ping-pong skills, or studying photography. The school desires to provide the time each student needs to grow in a particular interest, hobby, or a gift.
This year has been unusual because of the pandemic but despite the difficulties and restrictions the school needed to face, they were still able to offer some extracurricular activities such as volleyball club and a drama club. Larger gatherings were not possible this year but we hope to meet more of the school’s families in the upcoming years.
What is the most important reason you stay at your school?
In the past year, we have seen our son mature and be encouraged by the example of his mentors and teachers. His faith is alive and he has a desire for something ‘more’. He became a better and a more attentive reader, he is able to express his thoughts in a more organized way and write better. He became interested in new things and found new things to love. He admires his teachers and is aware of the beauty of the curriculum. Even though the curriculum is demanding and the studies are very rigorous, he did not want to miss a single day of school the entire year. We believe this is the best ‘advertisement’ any school could wish for.