Question: “Why did you choose Catholic education and what’s its impact, specifically St. Pius’s, on you and your kids?”
“I can’t do this anymore…” I remember the call like it was yesterday. My wife, Rhonda, was telling me that she just couldn’t stand to see our son, Ryan, crying and refusing to get out of the car to go into kindergarten. He was only five years old at the time, but he hated the regimented program we had placed him in, and our normally mild-mannered kid was crying and refusing to get out and go inside. He was speaking from his heart as tears rolled down his face. I could hear Ryan shouting in the background of Rhonda’s phone, “I don’t wanna go!” he exclaimed. “We’ve got to find somewhere else for him to go,” Rhonda stated, driving towards our home in North Nashville without any idea as to what we were going to do. Like so many families in America, we both worked and needed to have a safe, reliable place to take our son.
As Rhonda was driving home, she remembered that a close personal friend and former law partner, Judge Rachel Bell had attended a small Catholic school in our neighborhood, St. Pius X Classical Academy. Only four blocks away from our home, Rhonda was able to get an appointment to visit St. Pius the next morning, and as they say, “the rest is history.” She was greeted at the door by Mrs. Janeth Harper, a school administrator better known as the “doer of all things” at St. Pius, with a warm smile and calming reassurance that Rhonda and Ryan were in the right place. An immediate calm came over Rhonda as she recalled meeting the kindergarten teacher, Ms. Simpson, who like Mrs. Harper was warm, engaging and kind as well. Even though we were not Catholic, we have been welcomed into the St. Pius family as if we were. The peace that Rhonda experienced that day was a definite sign for us to give St. Pius a chance. God had answered our prayers, and what started as such a stressful situation for Ryan and our family, quickly turned into the beginning of a new family journey with our St. Pius family which we are extremely proud to be a part.
Ryan, now a seventh grader, absolutely loves his school! When he started attending, we fell in love with the care and attention given to each student due to small class sizes, the character and leadership development of the older students by helping and assisting younger students (especially during special activities), and most importantly, the spiritual development of training young people to love God and each other. This rings especially true for a school with a large ,diverse population such as St. Pius. Ryan has grown into a well-rounded, kind-hearted young man with tremendous leadership potential and confidence to take on the world. He is also doing well academically, and any questions we had regarding his academic preparation were answered as we witnessed older students graduate from eighth grade and enter some of the top high schools in Nashville.
Covid 19 has been hard on several families and ours is no exception. With our youngest child having experienced serious medical issues, we had to make the decision to have Ryan stay home and avoid greater exposure. Principal Lori Patton and the Catholic school system stepped up and created a virtual option for kids who needed it like our family and have worked hard to include Ryan – not just academically, but in all of the school activities virtually as well. Once again, our St. Pius family has done everything within its power to ensure we have the best academic experience possible regardless of the circumstances.