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“St. John’s Catholic School provides an education to families which is founded on faith. The faith based foundation makes a noticeable difference in the education and community.  In our family, St. John’s is more than an education. It is a legacy, a precious heirloom passed down from generation to generation.

There are currently 4 students at St. John’s Catholic School who share this legacy and are the fourth generation in their family to attend St. John’s. There are countless other students who are second or third generation. Isaac and Riley have the distinction of both parents who are third generation to attend St. John’s. Joshua Shean, Anita (Bisson) Shean, Rita (Poulin) Bisson.  Amanda (Swinton) Shean, Nancy Hill Swinton, Anita (Raymond) Hill. In our immediate family tree there are 27 people who have attended or are attending St. John’s.

Our connection with St. John’s Catholic School and All Saints Parish is deeper than just the education. There is a symbiotic relationship between the people and the place. My aunt, Anne Bouchard, worked as parish bookkeeper for many years, I worked as sextan for about 5 years, another aunt, Aline Archibald, worked as a teacher at the school, Cubby worked at the school for 4 years as both a teacher and a tech assistant, and Nancy has been a teacher there almost her entire teaching career. All of us are alumni of the school. As an interesting side note, our kids and the current Pelletier students are both 4th generation; both grandmothers are teachers at the school, and parents of both families have worked or currently work for the school. St. John’s church is the church of our family with countless baptisms, weddings, and funerals.  My connection to St. John’s Catholic School had another layer added as a parent. I am an active member of the PTA, volunteer at most fundraising events, and served 2 years as the PTA president.

St. John’s Catholic School was a priority to our family before we had children. As we started our housing search, the proximity to St. John’s and commuting considerations were in the forefront.  There was never a discussion about if our children would go to St. John’s, for our family it is a given.

As a Parent, I see aspects of the St. John’s community that eluded me as a student. The teachers are truly unique. They know the needs of their students and look for each student to meet their personal best and full potential. The community at St. John’s Catholic School is also beyond compare. There are no strangers at St. John’s. All the teachers know all the students, and all the students know each other. It is not uncommon to be out around town and have other students recognize my kids and greet them by name with warm, jovial embrace, even when out of uniform.

To those who know her, St. John’s Catholic School serves as the benchmark for education.  There is a bond between those who are blessed with the connection of St. John’s. There is feeling that cannot be put into words of the joy, satisfaction, confidence, and prestige that surrounds the St. John’s experience.

My story of the SJCS difference

There is one saying I remember most from my time at St. John’s Catholic School, “With a strong foundation, you can build anything.”  St. John’s is the foundation for education.

It is no secret, students at St. John’s Catholic School are taught to be good speakers. As lectors during the masses, students are taught the lessons for public speaking. Unknown to me at the time I was also taught to be an advocate for the school.  Around the time I was in 5th grade, I was asked by a scout leader to give a speech to the local Rotary Club supporting the importance of scouting. Upon returning to the school, I gave the leader a tour of the school. He was so impressed by my confidence, and the presentation of my speech that he later enrolled his children at St. John’s.

During my time at SJCS, I was a solid “B” student.  I worked hard but my studies were not easy.  After graduation I attended Brunswick High school where I was given the opportunity to choose my own classes. Not knowing what to expect, and not wanting to set myself for failure, I enrolled in the lowest level math class. I enjoyed math, but again it had always been a struggle at SJCS.  I went to one class and was bored out of my mind. The presentation of the subject matter was too slow and not challenging. I went to the guidance office and changed to the middle level math class. Again I attended one class and found it not to be a challenge. I went back to the guidance office and enrolled in honors algebra. For the remainder of my high school education, I enrolled in two math classes each semester until my junior year with calculus being the highest level I completed. My focus shifted to excelling in AP Biology which would never have gone as well without the foundation from St. John’s Catholic School. My math grades in high school were A’s across the board.

Beyond education, St. John’s taught me how to study and how to take notes. These are not skills I would expect to be a pivotal talking point for an institution, but they are the unquantifiable difference for me; my silent partner for success as an adult. We had a teacher in Jr. High who would write an outline on the chalkboard and her students would have to transcribe it at the beginning of class. To this day, my outlines still follow her organized format.

I again noticed the SJCS difference while enrolled at at Southern Maine Community College. I had a friend who came to me the week before the final exam needing study help.  He told me he need to pass the exam with an 80 or better or he would not pass the class.  I created a review packet for him. He told me he shared it with “a few people”.  I later found out about half the class had a copy of the study materials. I set up a study session for the two of us to review the materials. Imagine my surprise when eight people were waiting for me. In the end, he did pass the course. This events in this story lead to a successful outcome as a result of the skills I learned at St. John’s Catholic School. I was able to compile a review sheet because organization was instilled by the teacher at St. John’s. I was confident leading a review session with the strong public speaking perfected at St. John’s. I personally did well in the course allowing me the time and opportunity to assist others due to my educational foundation St. John’s has given me. Most importantly, dedication to a strong community emphasized at St. John’s taught me that I should help a friend in need.”

The Shean Family Parents

“We moved from Virginia to Maine for work when our oldest was two.  We were committed to raising our children in this new place, far from our family and friends.  We immersed ourselves in All Saints Parish, joined a Family Group and began to develop meaningful friendships.

This was the first parish we belonged to that also had a school.  Having the opportunity to put our kids through a private education was a dream, but we were now faced with a decision to make.  Not just a decision on where to send our oldest for Kindergarten, or how to pay tuition, but a real commitment to the type of education we wanted to provide for all our children.

We spoke with current and former SJCS parents about their experience. The feedback was everything you want in your child's educational experience, glowing reviews about the teachers, high academic standards, small class sizes, and more.  One couple simply said, "We absolutely love St. John's, you will not regret sending your children there."

Four years later and our love for our little school has grown immensely.  We now have four children, two of which are current students and the younger ones will be in a few years.  Our children are in small classes and are challenged in a rigorous yet fun academic curriculum.  Most importantly, their daily routine involves learning and embracing our catholic faith, which we feel is the greatest gift.

We are among an entire school community of wonderful families and educators, we feel beyond blessed to have the opportunity to attend SJCS.”

The Smith Family Parents