St. Pat’s celebrates Catholic Schools WeekMaggie Watters is a delightful, energetic four-year-old, who loves to tell about spiders, snowmen, snowflakes, snow-globes and all sorts of things.
By: By Mary Pat Finnigan, Hudson Star-Observer
Maggie Watters is a delightful, energetic four-year-old, who loves to tell about spiders, snowmen, snowflakes, snow-globes and all sorts of things she is learning about in Betsy Palesh’s PreK class at St. Patrick School. She also knows a bit about faith -- faith in the school that educated and nurtured her mother, her grandfather and her great-grandfather. Maggie is the fourth generation of her family to attend St. Patrick School in Hudson.
Harold Trieb was the only child of Hudson residents, Albert and Hazel Trieb. He attended St. Patrick School through eighth grade and graduated from Hudson High School in 1943, just in time to join the Air Force near the end of World War II. Upon his retirement from the AF in 1969, he moved his family back to Hudson and gave his son John, who was going into eighth grade, a choice on where he would like to attend school. John chose St. Pat’s because he liked the thought of going into a smaller school. Attending St. Pat’s afforded him opportunities learn more about his faith and play sports, both of which laid the foundation for enduring friendships.
When it came time for John to make a decision about where to send his three children to school, he didn’t hesitate to choose St. Pat’s once again. He recalls advising a friend who was uncertain about sending his children to St. Pat’s when they could attend the public school for free. I told him, “It (the tuition check) is the easiest check I have to write out each month.” His friend took his advice and years later told him it was one of the best decisions he had made.
John’s daughter Emily attended St. Patrick School from kindergarten through eighth grade. She too loved the small classes and the opportunities she had to play sports for St. Pat’s. Parent volunteers are the lifeblood of any parochial school; one of the ways John gave back was to coach Emily’s volleyball team. Among her favorite memories were the trips she took as a seventh- and eighth-grader to the Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn. These adventurous, multi-day outdoor trips were led by gym/health teacher, Tim DeJardin who now teaches all those energetic four-year-olds in Maggie’s class.
DeJardin is not the only teacher Emily remembers from her days at St. Pat’s. Debbie Loughney was Emily’s first-grade teacher and next year she will be Maggie’s kindergarten teacher. Loughney has taught at St. Patrick School for 31 years and her twin sons, Bill and Brian who coincidentally were classmates of Emily, represented the fourth generation of the Loughney family to attend St. Patrick School. Through the years St. Patrick School has been blessed with exceptional teachers who embody the mission of St. Pat’s.
St. Patrick Catholic School strives to create an environment which enables students to integrate their Christian faith into daily living, achieve academic excellence and reach their full potential. Both John and Emily agreed that St. Pat’s gave them a great start. Academically Emily and her peers excelled in high school. They both loved the smaller class sizes and the fact that students and families know and watch out for each other. Their highest praise came when they spoke of how faith was integrated throughout each school day. They spoke of “real” Christmas programs, starting and ending each school day with prayer and celebrating Mass together as a school family.
Emily said there was no doubt that Maggie would attend a Catholic School. She had had a wonderful experience at St. Pat’s, and her husband Nick had similar experiences attending St. Agnes in St. Paul. When the time came to choose a PreK program for Maggie they chose St. Pat’s, continuing the tradition that is the theme for Catholic Schools Week this year: faith, academics and service.