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Personal educational experiences
catalyst for Catholic school choice

By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
(Email Renee)

ALGONA – After having a positive Catholic school experience at Kuemper Catholic School in Carroll, Stephanie Schafer always knew she wanted to send her own children to a Catholic school one day.

“I come from a very strong Catholic upbringing, so making a decision to send my kids to a Catholic school was not only family tradition but was something I felt strongly about,” she said.

Stephanie, and her husband, Kregg, are the parents of two boys: Noah, 4, and Gabe, 9 months.

“My wife and I wanted faith to be a part of our child's education on a daily basis. And I might add that she felt pretty strong about,” said Kregg, who attended Sts. Peter and Paul Grade School in West Bend through eighth grade and from there went to West Bend-Mallard High School. “It was a great experience for me. Unfortunately the school has since closed.”

In the fall, the Schafers opted to send Noah to Seton Preschool in Algona, which is part of the Bishop Garrigan School System.

“When my wife and I made the decision that we were going to send them to a Catholic school, we toured that school and met with Noah's teachers. I felt good about it. I walked out feeling like this was a good decision,” Kregg said.

He acknowledged he was a little concerned about the distance to the school even though Stephanie’s hair salon business is in Algona. Garrigan does provide busing for their students who live in a different school district so eventually that will help with the commute to and from when Noah is in school full-time.

Having just turned 4 in December, Noah will attend preschool another year before he begins kindergarten.

Right now Stephanie does a lot of driving with preschool only being half days. On the days that Noah has preschool - Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings from 8:20 to 11 a.m. – Stephanie has to pick him up after school and drive 20 miles to the babysitter in West Bend and then go back another 20 miles to Algona.

“I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t think it was worth it,” Stephanie said.

Even though Noah is young, Stephanie mentioned she has already seen how the Catholic education is building up his faith.

“Within the first week or two of picking up Noah and asking him what he learned, he said he learned about baby Jesus,” she noted. “I kind of laughed a little bit because I thought it was cool. You’d only get that in a Catholic school.”

It affirmed her choice in a Catholic school education.

As a graduate of Kuemper, in addition to being able to learn about God, Stephanie said she wants her children to have a Catholic school education to learn discipline, respect, the power of prayer and importance of service.
“I always liked wearing a uniform,” Stephanie said. “I liked everything about it.”

When they were considering sending their son to the Catholic preschool, Stephanie asked her mom if they would send them all to Kuemper again if they could do it over and her mom replied, “In a heartbeat.”

Even before she was directly connected to Bishop Garrigan Catholic Schools, Stephanie supported the school through her business. For seven years her business has been part of the SCRIP program and she gives a donation to the Garrigan Gala.

“I want my child to go to a school where God is part of it,” Stephanie said. “You learn about your faith and love, respect and prayer. I can’t imagine sending my child to a school that didn’t have God in it.”

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