Attended San Fransisco de Asis Catholic School from preschool in 2004 through 8th grade in May of 2014.
I was blessed to be born into a faithful Catholic family in the mountains of Flagstaff. In the 1960’s when my grandparents, as young parents, decided to make the move from Germantown, Wisconsin to Flagstaff, Arizona to try their hand at being Route 66 motel owners, they knew the importance of Catholic Education. My dad, along with my aunt and uncle, attended San Fransisco de Asis Catholic School (Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School at the time) which provided them with an invaluable faith foundation and education which has carried through to their adult years. Once my dad met my mom and my older sister and I eventually came along, we were provided the opportunity to also attend SFdA School, which I’ve learned is the oldest continuous Catholic school in the Diocese of Phoenix!
What impact did Catholic schools have on you and your family?
Attending a Catholic School throughout my childhood years gave me an incredible sense of belonging. Although I didn’t know anything different at the time, looking back I can see what a gift it was to be able to grow up in a school environment which held the same values and core truths that my family did. Growing up with the same group of classmates and friends for ten years taught me valuable life-lessons about the importance of communication and how to navigate and establish lasting relationships (especially through the awkwardness of teenage years, haha!).
In addition to the lasting impact that the wonderful education and the supportive community had on my life, going to a Catholic School during such formative years most importantly helped me to see how beautifully our faith can be integrated into every aspect of our lives. The faith education and integration I received wrote the truth of our faith into my heart, which came to full bloom toward the end of high school when I was fully able to accept the faith as my own after some time of navigating the secular world at my public high school. Without the loving teaching and moral foundation that my Catholic school laid for me as a kid, I can see how easily I could have been led widely astray from the truth in high school. Although I know that the Lord is limitless and could have converted my heart no matter how far I was from Him, I can see now how encountering Him in the Eucharist and the teachings of the church during my childhood was significant in beginning to light the flame for my faith that has grown during my adult years, and which now impacts every aspect of my life.
What is one or two special memories of your Catholic School Experience that you would like to share?
While there are so many impactful moments during my Catholic School Experience that I will never forget, a few that come to mind took place in 2nd grade, and then during my middle school years.
During Lent each year, I remember that the third graders had a special role during Stations of the Cross. The class would sing a beautiful song about the relationship between Jesus and our Blessed Mother, and the heart-piercing sorrow that Mary must have experienced during the Passion of her Son. When I was in second grade, watching this beautiful performance from third graders as they sang “Mary when you saw it, did you cry? Did you cry?” I remember feeling a significant movement in my heart for Jesus for the first time as tears sprung to my eyes. I couldn’t have explained it at the time, but I know that I felt the mind-boggling, deeply personal love of the crucified Jesus for me on that day for the first time and my heart was moved by it.
During my three years of middle school, the Lord worked profoundly through my religion teacher to begin to grow my desire for a personal relationship with Him. Mrs. Bond beautifully taught the richness of our faith through bringing my class to Adoration, through praying with scripture each week and the Rosary, through our lessons in theology, church teaching, and the lives of the saints, and so much more. After visiting the Adoration chapel in sixth grade with my class one week, I remember a significant moment when I realized that my heart felt lighter and that something was deeply different when I attended Sunday Mass with my family that weekend. I felt that in a new way, I knew Jesus. That He wasn’t only a historical figure, but my savior, friend, and Lord who knew me more than I even knew myself. The comfort and peace that I felt was unmistakable. Mrs. Bond and I still keep in touch, and I had the opportunity to babysit her daughter each week during college. I have my Catholic School to thank for this friendship with someone who I look up to so much and who has impacted my life deeply!
After high school, I knew that I wanted to go to a college with a lively Catholic community. I had been attending the Newman Center at NAU in Flagstaff with my older sister for a few months, and there had begun to fully step into the richness and wonder of our Catholic faith in a new way after encountering Jesus once again during Adoration. After applying to many shiny schools out of state, I realized that everything that I was looking for was already right in front of me in my hometown! I attended NAU in Flagstaff and had the opportunity of spending my four years of college deeply involved at Holy Trinity Newman Center, and in turn, was even more deeply blessed by the community and formation there.
I entered into discipleship with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) my freshman year which provided me with the tools and confidence to begin leading a Bible study with young women my age from my sophomore year through my senior year. After attending the bi-annual student led Lumberjack Awakening Retreat my freshman year as well, I knew that I wanted to help create more opportunities for future students to encounter the Lord in the same way I was able to. I served in various positions on the following seven retreats during the next few years, and was honored to be the co-coordinator of my last retreat during my senior year. I worked at the Newman Center as a media intern my junior and senior years, which was not only an incredibly fun opportunity, but provided me with invaluable experience in my field of Visual Communication.
I was blessed with a very full and very humbling college experience where the Lord worked deeply in my life to teach me about the importance of working hard, investing in good friendships and relationships, and above all, staying close to Him through a daily prayer routine. Upon graduating from NAU in 2022 on the Dean’s List with a degree in Visual Communication, an emphasis in Graphic Design, and a minor in Studio Art, the Lord shocked me by dropping my dream job into my lap. I’m honored to now work with some of the best, most faithful people I’ve met in a full-time, remote Graphic Design position for Smith House, a Phoenix-based creative agency which works closely with Catholic communities in Arizona and across the country.
Thank you for supporting Catholic Education. I cannot express my gratitude enough for my Catholic School experience and the impact that it has had on my life!
God bless you!
Arizona’s private education tax credit empowers individuals and corporations to choose what their tax dollars support and greatly impact Catholic school families. Rather than writing a check to the state of Arizona, you can be one of many to redirect your tax credits to support scholarship funding for students like Faith. You can be apart of their future success and faith journey through your Tax Credit Dollars! To learn more about tax credit contritibutions through CEA or to make your tax credit contribution today, you can call us at 602-932-1741 or go to www.ceaz.org.