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Our school choice story encompasses so many things. When we moved back to Fort Worth, our oldest children were just getting to preschool age, so school was a choice we knew we needed to make pretty quickly.
For our family, we chose to send our kids to a parochial school in our neighborhood, Saint Rita Catholic School.
My husband and I are both products of Catholic schools, and we felt like we received not only an excellent education, but also learned a lot of essential life lessons and had some significant life experiences. We wanted our children to have the same opportunity.
There are many reasons we chose the school we did.
We live in a very socioeconomically and racially diverse neighborhood, and St. Rita’s reflects that. The makeup of our school mirrors that of our zoned public school, and that’s important to us as a biracial family.
One of the reasons we chose our neighborhood was because of the demographics. We like that our kids are introduced to a variety of cultures and families that look both different and the same as they do.
There’s a Community Feeling
We live on the east side of Fort Worth and love it. The area has a community of business owners, and our school is part of that. We partner with a barbecue place nearby for school spirit nights, have library representatives at our literacy night, and get our diplomas from the boutique paper shop down the street.
When I’ve taken our kids places in their uniforms after school, people know the school and are always so lovely and polite to my boys, asking them questions about the school and talking about what they know about it.
It’s PreK to 8th Grade
St. Rita students can start at the age of three and go through eighth grade. Of course, in any school, there’s a turnover rate, but St. Rita has a lower rate than most, meaning our classes get incredibly tight-knit and genuinely grow up together in a unique way.
From a purely practical standpoint, it’s also incredibly convenient that families with kids at multiple ages only have one school drop off/pickup, calendar, timing, etc.
We Have a Family History
St. Rita has a special place in my family’s heart. My husband and I both went to St. Rita, I started in kindergarten, and he came in third grade. When we were there, many of my cousins also went there, so it felt like the school was full of family.
Now, my kids are going there, as are their cousins. Some of the teachers who taught me are still there, even if it’s just as substitutes. We had so many positive experiences there, and it’s amazing to watch our kids share that and make their own memories at this special place.
And a Myriad of Other Benefits
In addition to those big four, there are several other small reasons that St. Rita was the right choice for us.
Obviously, St. Rita is a Catholic school, and our kids attend mass weekly and receive religious instruction. We like that this is incorporated into their school life as well as what we teach at home.
The class sizes are smaller, allowing for more individual attention and forging tight friendships. They also get to spend time on extra things, like school-wide musicals, study skills, and many incredible school traditions.
Our school is accredited and has a set curriculum, but there’s a lot of freedom in teaching styles. We don’t have the high-stakes testing requirements, so there seems to be less pressure on the teachers and kids without losing our educational focus.
It’s Right for Us
Overall, St. Rita has been the right choice for our family. We believe in parochial education and this school in particular.
For us, it feels like home.