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By Fiona Smith – When I began kindergarten at St. Mary’s, I was too young to realize the differences in faith between my home and Catholic school. My teachers treated me exactly the same as their other students: I learned the same Bible stories, enjoyed being an angel in our Christmas play, and loved to learn.

As a non-Catholic student that has gone through the St. Mary’s and Notre Dame High School system, I have received a unique and wonderful education and experience. They bring Catholic values into the classroom, and educate us in what it means to be a member of a world-wide Church. Even though I do not follow the Catholic faith myself, I have gained that wondrous sense of belonging to something greater than oneself as a member of this amazing, and very welcoming community.

Another perk of attending these excellent schools is that, through religious education, I have learned many valuable moral lessons as well. For example, my own personal mantra: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” is reinforced not just in religion class, but in every class and activity throughout the years. Notre Dame and St. Mary’s has taught me that we all have a responsibility to lift each other up, through community service and just choosing to be kinder in how we interact with each other, especially since we are all so close that it is like one big, amazing family.

Growing up in this wonderful Catholic school system has given me a well-rounded education with challenging academics, as well as a spiritual and moral education, both of which I hold in a very high regard. I may not be Catholic, but I am very proud to say that I will be a graduate of Notre Dame in 2021, and I look forward to using all that I have learned as a student of faith throughout the rest of my life.