A lively discussion at one of our recent morning coffee sessions with the Head of School led to this guest blog by Laura Coraci, mother of Jacqueline in Second Grade and Vivian in Kindergarten. Laura’s story is a familiar one that I thought might resonate with many of you, so I asked Laura to write it down to be shared in this forum. Thank you, Laura, for sharing your story!
The Proof is in the Pudding
When Jim and I moved to Hoboken almost 15 years ago it was a move of romantic convenience. He lived further west, I lived in NYC, and we ended up here. As two kids from the NJ suburbs it was never part of the plan to settle down and live in Hoboken permanently. However, we loved the restaurants, the shopping, the people, and city life in general so we stayed and we were happy.
Along came Jacqueline and we grew to love Hoboken even more for its abundant children’s classes, parks, walk-ability, mental stimulation and Jim’s easy commute so we decided to continue living here, at least until school started. So we stayed, and we were happy.
Vivian was born and we needed more space, so we flirted with the idea of moving to the suburbs but we loved living where the girls could scooter or bike all around town, run up and down the block playing with their friends, accomplish five errands and still get to the park quickly before dinner, be exposed to an abundant variety of lifestyle choices, and where we had friends with whom we could easily socialize after a long day at work or at home with the kids. So, we stayed and we were happy.
It came time for Jacqueline to start school, so we looked at our options. We researched public and private schools further west, but we also applied to a few programs in town. The warmth of All Saints and the enthusiasm of Jill Singleton made this school our top choice in a town that had already won us over.
Jacqueline started school during Jill Singleton’s third year as the Head of School. The graduating class was a group of six Fourth Grade girls. Plans were in development for both the Saint Nicholas Center renovation and the Middle School expansion, but nothing was yet underway. We liked the idea of there being a Middle School but we did not like the small class sizes in the upper grades and we felt that the school had yet to prove that it could provide as much opportunity for our daughters as a more established program. However, we felt fortunate to have been accepted because this meant that we could stay in Hoboken through Kindergarten. So we stayed and we were happy.
Over the years I have had many conversations with friends about “where the school is headed.” Apparently, we are not the only family who has lived with one foot out the door of Hoboken. We feel, perhaps, that by committing ourselves to All Saints we are taking a leap of faith into the unknown. It is true that as our daughters have grown and we look back on the past five years, we have seen many changes at All Saints. There are now two beautiful campuses. We have our first spectacular group of graduating Eighth Graders.
The Fourth Grade class is now much larger. We have many more staff members, some of whom I am still getting to know. Indeed, the school has gained a wonderful reputation and continues to grow and develop. In fact, I am sure that even after all of the items on the current “action plan” have been accomplished, Jill will decide that we need a new action plan. Growth and change is what it is all about. There is no end game to education.
Luckily, amongst all of this growth we have also seen many things stay the same. The school continues to be a place of warmth, community and enthusiasm. The girls are constantly challenged academically, are afforded the resources to explore extra-curricular opportunities, are immersed in the variety and vibrancy of urban living, and are exposed to multiple opportunities daily where they are encouraged to find their inner voices. It is enthralling to watch them find their places in the larger, interactive community that is All Saints.
When I look at this school I feel proud of all that it has accomplished in such a short period of time and I feel excited to see what is to come. But more importantly, when I look at my children I am at peace with the fact that they are thriving. Daily. Over the years it has become less important to me to find out exactly where this class of Eighth Graders ends up in high school. It doesn’t matter how the school will accommodate a larger student body in the future. I am no longer waiting for All Saints to prove itself along some matrix of possible future outcomes. Instead, I can see so clearly that we are surrounded by excellence and achievement on a day-to-day basis. I don’t feel anymore that committing our family to All Saints is a leap of faith. Instead, it is a testament to what we have been exposed to all along. The proof is in what we are already experiencing. Or, more deliciously stated,