Helen, MD – On Feb. 5, curious parents and children walked into the doors of the independent Catholic school Mother Catherine Academy (MCA) greeted by warm smiles from compassionate staff members who were eager to answer any questions and give tours. Mother Catherine Academy, located in Helen, held an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. for interested families to learn more about the school’s challenging curriculum and the broad range of extra-curricular opportunities.
The difference at MCA is “We are a family and we pray together,” said several parents with children attending the school currently, as well as members of the staff.
MCA provides a Catholic education to children beginning with programs for ages 3 years-old and into grades Pre-K through eighth grade. Principal Anthony Wojt said, “Our small class sizes are typically 30 percent smaller than the average class in the county.”
Parent Gina Suite of Chaptico is a big advocate of Catholic school education and MCA. Suite was happy to speak with parents considering MCA for their children. During the open house, Suite told TheBayNet.com she was introducing her friends Brandie and Dave Richards of Mechanicsville and their son Benjamin to the wonderful opportunities offered at MCA.
Dave Richards said, “We are definitely impressed with the school and plan to put in an application.”
Suite was also happily surprised to see her cousin Stacy Payne of Clements at the open house considering MCA for her 3-year-old son Waylon. Payne said, “I liked it. I have heard a lot about the school because I work with a lady who sent her children here.”
Suite said, “I get very emotional every time I come to this school. It means so much to me that we made this decision for her (daughter, Rachael Suite) education.”
“I never received religious education growing up. My older two sisters did and they would sneak out the back door. When I was old enough to go, my parents just didn’t send me. So, I really get a lot from Rachael going to school here. I love it, said Suite.”
Rachael Suite is a shining example and advertisement for the students at MCA. She is a proud member of Ms. Bowles fourth grade class and has attended MCA since kindergarten, said Suite. She eagerly told TheBayNet.com she loves everything about the school from praying to math, including the new principal Mr. Wojt, and cursive handwriting. “We have fun here. Mass is held every Tuesday with a different priest. In fourth grade, every day we write a Bible verse in cursive. Then we must write what we think it means, so we can go over it with the entire class,” said Suite.
The school has gone through a few rough patches and some changes over the past few years, explained Gina Suite. “Everyone is like a family here, she said. We have a new principal Mr. Wojt and everyone loves him.”
For National Catholic School Week, the children honored the principal with poetry and with a finger-snapping original tune written to the theme music of ‘The Addams Family’ titled, “Mr. Wojt.” Rachael said, “He really enjoyed it. He has a lot of humor. We just really love him.”
What really makes this Academy different is the challenging curriculum that is rooted in “Religious virtues, morals, history, and traditions – just look around you, what a great place to educate our children,” said Principal Wojt, as he pointed outside at the beautiful farmland view.
If you have any questions about MCA, feel free to call the office at (301) 884-3165 and speak with Debbie Johnson who has been with the school for 27 years.
Johnson told TheBayNet.com that over the 27 years her role at MCA has been a teacher, as well as the office administrator, lunch coordinator, financial aid administrator, network administrator, registration coordinator, bingo coordinator, school librarian and facilities administrator and most importantly, she said, “I want the parents to know I am here for them whenever they call. The kids at Mother Catherine are like my kids, and I really mean that when I say it. Eventually, I get to know them all,” said Johnson with a loving smile. There are 156 children currently enrolled at MCA, said Johnson. “All our families are different, but none are less important,” she said.
Contact Shertina J. Mack at the s.mack@TheBayNet.com