By Lisa Riley


Why do we send our children to Catholic school?
Is it because we are both products of Catholic education? Is it because most of our siblings send their kids to Catholic school and we wanted to follow suit? Is it because there is some sort of pride or elitism in being able to send your kids to “private” school?
Like many who choose Catholic education, we often are faced with the question: With the incredible public schools around you and the high taxes you pay living in this area, why do you send your children to private school?
I’m happy to share with you why.
Because “private” isn’t Catholic. Catholic is Catholic. In this world of enormous tragedy — and by contrast, incredible opportunity — my husband Kevin and I take our responsibility as parents very seriously. We constantly challenge ourselves to think about the bigger picture. 
We have complete confidence that our children are learning and growing from a well-rounded curriculum, that they are being taught by genuine and experienced teachers who deeply care, and that they have access to a variety of extra-curricular activities. Most importantly, they are challenged in the Catholic school environment to open their hearts to each other, to Jesus, and to the world.
We embrace an environment that encourages our children to think beyond their personal needs, with the ultimate goal of learning to consider the needs of others and identify opportunities to serve.
At the end of the day, we feel a faith-based education fosters this. Kevin and I know Catholic education mirrors our values and helps us to mold and shape our children.
Our kindergartener, Reagan, is learning how to talk openly about Jesus. She’s hearing the prayers of her new friends and developing a confidence and pure love for Jesus.
I’ll never forget my second-grader Darren bringing home an Adoration card from a classmate who wrote a prayer and spent his Adoration time praying for Darren’s grandfather, my dad, who had just passed away from cancer and another one, months before that, from a different friend who prayed for the birth of Darren’s new baby brother, Sean. 
This is faith in action.
Our fourth-grader Michael comes home telling us of his teacher’s absolute love of Jesus and her own children. He gleans that daily from her prayers, her openness, and her being able to be her true authentic self. 
Even our two-year old Sean, who isn’t in school yet, is influenced every day by this environment.  Anytime we see a statue, a picture of a priest, a crucifix, a stained-glass window, Sean points and tells me “Father Kevin!” It is absolutely amazing and a true gift to see him verbalize his experience and the impression the church, its leader, and Jesus are making in his life.
WE are inspired because THEY are inspired and their confidence in their faith is flourishing.
There are so many other ways the Catholic school community has impacted our lives. This is our fifth year at the school and parish and I could go on and on and list all the different ways we’ve chosen to get involved. 
We feel blessed. We feel able. And we feel love.  We feel we are setting the right example for our children. Why just exist when you can make a difference?  Being a part of Seelos and St. Al’s allows us to make a difference. 


Lisa Riley is an active member of St. Alphonsus Parish and Blessed Francis Seelos Academy. She and her husband, Kevin, chair our St. Alphonsus Golf Classic as well as volunteer in a number of capacities for the school and parish. Kevin is an usher and a member of the School Advisory Council.