What Young People Need
Take a minute to think about all of the difficulties that youth face, during their teenage years. It’s a time when they begin to act independently and make choices that can impact the rest of their lives. When they look at the future, they’re often filled with hope and excitement along with some anxiety. They have questions about who they are and what they are called to be. Popular culture and our secular society are bombarding them with many “answers” to those questions each and every day. What young people need during their teenage years is a vibrant, faith-filled environment to teach them the knowledge and wisdom they will need in an increasingly competitive and confusing world.
The mission of Gross Catholic High School is to provide a faith-filled education built upon Catholic virtues and the life of Jesus Christ. We are a Catholic school and proud of it. However, you don’t have to be Catholic to attend Gross Catholic. We accept students of all faiths. We teach moral values and decision making. We respect and honor all faiths. The difference is that we can talk about faith in our school. We can teach students how to make moral decisions based upon faith. We talk and learn about morals in a safe environment. Our students go out into the world to become productive, successful, and ethical citizens. While the majority of the students at Gross Catholic come from Archdiocesan Catholic grade schools, we also have several students who have attended public grade schools.
We interviewed a few of our current families that made the decision to send their student to Gross Catholic High School, after attending a public grade school.
What guided your decision making switching from a public grade school, to a Catholic high school?
Chris Drake (Current Sophomore Parent): It ultimately came down to the closeness of the Gross Catholic family. My son was baptized Catholic but never had any previous Catholic education. We knew that Gross Catholic emphasized academics and that the small class sizes were far superior to what we had experienced with our daughter at a large public high school.
Judy Sauley (Current Sophomore Parent): The primary influence that drove us to send our son to Gross Catholic began in 7th grade public junior high school. He started hanging around kids we did not think were a very good influence on his character. In addition, he began saying things that we did not like. We saw him heading in a direction we did not want, so we chose to invest in our son’s future by ensuring a better environment.
What value do you see in sending your children to Gross Catholic High School?
Chris Drake (Current Sophomore Parent): The value of having a small, close-knit group of students and families can’t be emphasized enough.
Judy Sauley (Current Sophomore Parent): The primary value of sending our children to Gross High School turned out to be the same reason my mother sent my brothers and sister and myself to Gross High School 30 years earlier. She said the reason she sent us was because she felt she would have four more years of influence over us with our faith, academic, and personal development. All the teachers knew our entire family and different teachers mentored each of us kids in different ways.
Did your student have any input in choosing a high school?
Chris Drake (Current Sophomore Parent): Yes. Gross Catholic was actually my son’s idea. He had played a couple of years of Junior Cougars sports and had become very close with a number of kids that were going to Gross Catholic.
Judy Sauley (Current Sophomore Parent): Yes, so we developed a list of pros and cons. We explained our decision and why, and the primary argument that always came back to us on the con side (from them) was always the same – about their friends going to a different high school. We explained that friends will come and go, so that reason could not be the only argument against not going to Gross Catholic. It was.
What was the transition from public to Catholic school like for your student and family?
Chris Drake (Current Sophomore Parent): My son has always been a solid and conscientious student. That said, there was a period of adjustment as he got used to the grading, homework load, and expectations. There was also some adjustment for us as a family but it was made much easier by the GrossCatholic families that we had built relationships with.
Judy Sauley (Current Sophomore Parent): It was a seamless transition quite frankly, because the smaller school size enabled our kids to get as involved as they wanted and excel where they would have been “lost” in the shuffle of public school.
What has your student gained from their experience at Gross Catholic High School?
Chris Drake (Current Sophomore Parent): The academic and athletic experiences have been far greater than what he would have had at a public school. The relationships with friends, families, staff, and coaches is not something that he would have had the opportunity to form at a larger school.
Judy Sauley (Current Sophomore Parent): Character development. Sending our kids to Gross Catholic gave me firepower. I would tell them we chose to invest in their future now when we could have chosen public school for free, so don’t ever say we do not care. They knew the teachers could make more money elsewhere, but chose to be at Gross Catholic, because it was more than just about the money – one of life’s most important lessons.
What advice would you have for families considering a Catholic high school?
Chris Drake (Current Sophomore Parent): Don’t ever worry that your kid won’t be loved or valued at Gross. Don’t let Catholicism be the main driver in your decision. Gross Catholic is an amazing place that embraces every person, regardless of faith. I doubt that you will feel more welcomed than you will at Gross Catholic.
Judy Sauley (Current Sophomore Parent): Think of sending your kids to Catholic School as an investment in their future. It is about leading in every aspect of their lives – moral character, community service, academic development, critical thinking skills, ethical responsibility, and a faith-filled life. With the more personalized approach for students, they can be better involved and excel in a safer, more supportive atmosphere.