A Return to Catholic Schools
by Doug and Rhonda Schmidt
My name is Doug Schmidt I have five children that all attend Catholic schools. This is one of the many blessings in our life that I am most proud of. Four years ago we knew how wonderful catholic schools were. However, we just didn’t know how important it really was to us. While living in Dalhart, our oldest daughter Brandi attended St. Anthonys and graduated from 6th Grade and our oldest two boys Derian and Dawson both got their start in school at St. Anthony's also.
In July 2007, my wife Rhonda was offered a job in Borger. This job opportunity came at the same time her mother discovered she had cancer. This move would bring us closer to my wife’s family. Soon our family was on the move. Leaving St. Anthonys was one of the hardest things we have ever done. Our kids were in school there. St. Anthonys was also where I became Catholic through the RCIA program and where two of our kids were baptized. We knew St. John’s in Borger did not have a Catholic school so we looked in Fritch to make our new home. We thought this small hometown of my wife would be the place our kids would graduate high school. It did not take us long to realize this was a good public school but it was a not Catholic school. My son Derian who always wanted to be a priest was now embarrassed to even talk about his faith at school. Dawson could not figure out why no one prayed, even before meals at school. Our daughter Brandi was struggling with teenage issues. A common answer we heard from other parents was… “welcome to the real world”. This was not an acceptable response for us. This was not the way we viewed Catholic schools, as a “shelter from reality”. Anyone that has attended a Catholic school knows kids will be kids and each school has its own issues. However, it’s how you handle these issues that separate a public school from a Catholic school.
We soon found ourselves trying to get back to a Catholic school and we started praying. The closest schools were in Amarillo. I was driving to Dumas for work and my wife to Borger so how could we make this work? We had been trying to figure this out for a full year. Then Brandi our oldest daughter had a tough day at school. When I got home she asked to PLEASE let her go to Holy Cross. She wanted God in her life, especially at school. It was then we committed to getting our kids back into Catholic schools and Christ once again in the center of our life. We met with Mrs. Lewis and spent a morning watching the teachers. We went to Holy Cross a couple of times to observe. Then came the commitment. I met with Mrs. Lewis again and pre-registered the kids. I then drove to Holy Cross and pre-registered Brandi. I called and told Rhonda that we had until August to figure out how but they would be in St. Mary’s and Holy Cross in the fall semester. God is wonderful and we would figure this out. Within 30 days, we had a couple approach Rhonda out of the blue about buying the house. I was coaching the boy’s baseball team and Rhonda said she wasn’t going to make it which was real unusual. She said she had to hurry because there was a couple coming to look at the house that night. We had never discussed a price or even selling the house. You can figure out the rest of the story as our prayers were answered, God showed us the way!
We now live in Amarillo and just completed our first year back in Catholic schools. We have seen self-confidence multiply in all of our kids. We don’t have clothing arguments at home or at school. We now have teachers that are concerned about not only education but also in the life lessons to develop Catholic leaders of tomorrow and our kids are proud to be Catholic. What they see at school matches what they see at home; no more mixed signals that even adults have a hard time explaining. I can’t begin to tell you the many blessing we have received from attending Catholic schools. What I can tell you it is worth driving an hour each way to work for both my wife and I. Attend any Friday school mass and watch the love as they walk in and participate at all levels. I promise that it is worth giving up the dream Disney vacation with your kids that they think is so important. It is worth keeping that used car that is paid for, even though it’s not exactly what you would like to have. It is an easy decision to make once you have experienced God’s love at work in a Catholic school and you know you’re investing everything you have, time, money, talents, and gifts for your child’s education and yes it truly is an education for an eternity. We are confident when our kids graduate from Catholic schools they will know how God intends the world to be and have the skills and confidence to go change it. In the coming school year Brandi will be a Junior at Holy Cross Catholic Academy , Derian will be a 5th grader, Dawson a 4th grader, Brylea a 1st grade, and Dustyn in Montessori all at St. Mary’s . We continually thank God for this opportunity to send our kids to his schools. We invite you to look into sending your kids to one of the Catholic schools in the Amarillo Diocese.
God is waiting to give your family a blessing!
Doug and Rhonda Schmidt