As the parents of twin seventh-graders who have been in the St. Raphael Catholic School and Preschool system since they were in the two-year-old Red Tie Teddies Class, the two questions I’m asked the most are “why did you choose Saint Raphael for your twins (and indeed why did you choose a Catholic education at all)?” and “how do you afford it?”

Let me address the former. I didn’t grow up going to Catholic school. I attended public school in Connecticut, where I was raised. I was introduced to Catholic education at Boston College, an amazing experience that really transformed my life and challenged my thinking.

I now consider myself to be the product of a Jesuit education, one wherein values of faith, Ignatian spirituality, service to others and lifelong learning are absolutely at its core. So when we embarked on discovering a path for our children, naturally I gravitated to the Jesuit parish and affiliated school.

Having toured all of the Catholic schools and preschools and, indeed, having been a parishioner at several of those parishes, I instinctively knew that Saint Raphael would become our church and school home.

I have never, not once, been less than delighted with our decision.

I always say that as a parent of twins, I can speak authoritatively to the issue of the quality of the teachers, because our children have had absolutely every teacher in the school system during the course of their education.

Our son has a learning difference, and the amazing educators at St. Raphael have worked with us over the years from preschool right up into the present and he has developed into a confident, independent learner who absolutely loves coming to school every day. There is no joy greater than that.

From the top down, I find the administrators to be involved, charismatic leaders who want to see our school thrive and grow and evolve and I am constantly amazed by the energy and excitement that flows from that passion.

The teachers show up each day for long days and are passionate and caring and I’m absolutely certain that our children are nourished emotionally, spiritually and educationally – each and every day. For me, it was a no-brainer decision to matriculate them straight from the preschool, where they were so happy right into the school where they continue to be happy and confident learners.

Indeed, we certainly kept our options open by touring other schools, but in the end I am so happy with our decision and confident that it was the right one for us.

The investment we have made in our children will reap life-long and lasting benefits. I’m certain they are well prepared for whichever high school they choose, and indeed are well on their way to whatever college and career path opens its way to them.

There is no greater investment that I can think of than in our children’s formative education. In fact, the tuition at Saint Raphael is very reasonable, and the benefit that we receive far outweighs the money we pay out.

Melissa Shaheen
Blessed and Grateful 7th grade parent and St. Raphael parishioner