Sheila Passehl

Sheila Passehl

“Initially, we were comfortable homeschooling our children for the duration of their education. Then, as our son grew older, we felt it would greatly benefit him to be in school.”

“He has four sisters. While I was homeschooling, we reached a point where he needed more than spending every day with Mom and four sisters.”

“I was hesitant and holding back on wanting to put him in school because I felt as though I was putting my problem upon someone else. … But the more my husband and I talked about it, my son kept asking if he could go to school.”

“We didn’t feel comfortable with him going to the public school in our area, because it’s just not known for being a good school. And we just thought private schools were way out of our financial reach.”

“We explained to our son, ‘We’re ready and willing to make the sacrifice to send you to a school and give to you what you’ve been asking. Now, it’s your time to show us that you’re going to take this seriously and that you’re going to start trying to be a better student.’”

“We have five kids. I am a parish secretary, and my husband is a Catholic high school teacher, so the financial aspect of private education was very concerning to us.”

“When we came to St. Jude, they encouraged us to apply for the scholarships to see if we qualified for help with the financial burden, because the principal, Mr. Stangler, made it clear that he didn’t want people to be financially strapped, or to not be able to send their children to their school if finances were the only hurdle.”

“We kind of went over what we could afford as a family. And we received a partial scholarship the first year and second year. So, we were able to make payments throughout the school year. And then this year we’ve received full scholarships for both of the children.”

“It is such a relief and blessing. The scholarship takes the financial stress off of us, and it gives us the opportunity to not have to pick and choose which sports or activities the kids are going to be restricted to.”

“As a teacher, my husband sees firsthand the benefit of private schools versus public schools, both educationally and socially. When students enter high school they are well-prepared for the challenges because of the smaller learning environments and more available attention given to each student.”

“There are plenty of public schools that are fine, but there are plenty of public schools that are not meeting the standards.”

“Private education has positively impacted my children in so many ways. They’ve built friendships. They attend Mass together as a school community weekly and on holy days.”

“It’s just really beautiful to see the friendships that they’ve created here at St. Jude. I feel like they’re flourishing and that they really are getting the most out of their education, and Catholic education is very important to our family.”

“When my son came to school, we saw the change. Academically, he’s doing well. He’s made lots of friends.”

“Now, there’s no problem getting him up in the morning and getting him to go to school.”

“I think if they took away the scholarships, many of the Catholic schools would cease to exist. And then parents would be forced to send their kids to public schools that I don’t think live up to the standards of the private schools. So, putting families in situations where they’re going to have to put their kids in public schools will inundate those schools with more children. How are public schools going to be able to accommodate them?”

“Do we start paying more taxes to build wings onto schools or do mobile classrooms? It just doesn’t even make sense that they would take away these scholarships.”

“I think that parents should have a choice on where they send their children, if we’re paying taxes and taxes fund education.”

“The tax credit scholarship program needs to continue to exist so that we can continue to educate our children the way we, the parents, choose to have our children educated.”

“I want to be able to choose where I can send my kids, and that shouldn’t be determined by whether or not we can afford it.”

Sheila Passehl
Parish secretary, St. Jude Catholic Church
Joliet, Illinois

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