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'They love what they are learning'

Holland family experiences Catholic school difference firsthand
 
by Annalise Kransz and Afton Caterina
 
Imagine how one connection could change your life. For the Flores family of Holland, it was a series of conversations with their niece that changed theirs.
 
Last year, Matilde and Edgar Flores’ niece would regularly come to their home sharing stories of Corpus Christi Catholic School in Holland, where she was enrolled. “She told us about how she was doing in  chool and all the projects that she was doing there, and my son asked me if he could go there, too,” said Matilde. “I asked my sister-in-law about it and then my daughter started asking to go as well.”
 
The Flores family decided to follow up on that conversation and set up an appointment to meet with the school principal, Joanne Jones. Jones told them about the tuition assistance that was available, including the Welcome Scholarship for families enrolling in a Catholic school for the first time.
 
The Welcome Scholarship was introduced in March 2015 for families looking to enroll their child(ren) during the 2015-16 school year in a Diocese of Grand Rapids Catholic school. The award is for preschoolers through eleventh-graders. “When they told us about the Welcome Scholarship, it really surprised us, because it seemed like too much help; they helped us so much there,” Matilde said.
 
After that meeting, the Floreses decided to enroll their two children in the school. Brayan Jesus is in sixth grade and Cynthia Itzel is in third grade; previously, both children had attended a nearby public school. Matilde and Edgar say they have seen a huge difference in their children in the short time they have been enrolled. “We see that the classes are more advanced, and it’s important that they are learning so much about our religion. Sometimes even we don’t know the things they are learning. When we sit down to do homework, they explain to us what they have been learning. Especially in their religion
class, they love what they are learning," Matilde said.
 
The Floreses say the children’s education isn’t just about the academics; they are growing in their faith – and the kids want to learn more at every chance they get. “Now they are interested in their faith. Before they were interested, but I always had to be reminding them about it. Now they are always asking questions and sharing about their classes with us, and they even look up answers for themselves now," Matilde said.
 
Before those conversations with their niece, the Floreses say they had never considered a Catholic school. Now both children are looking forward to graduating from the eighth grade at Corpus Christi Catholic School. Matilde says for anyone who is hesitant about the cost, it’s worth it: “I think perhaps they might think that they will have extra expenses, but I say that it is a very good investment, because at the end of the day you realize that they are growing academically and in their faith.”
 
Learn more about Catholic school education in the diocese and about Welcome Scholarships for families new to Catholic schools.