Dear St. Thomas Community,
My name is Maggie Gonzalez and I graduated from St. Thomas in 2018. I attended STA from kindergarten through 8th grade, as did my two younger siblings. My St. Thomas education has been incredibly beneficial to me, not only in academics but also in extracurricular involvement and service.
Transitioning into high school would have been much more difficult without my STA foundation. I felt well prepared in every class that I took my freshman year, including the honors classes. Because of my math education, I was able to test into the highest freshman math class offered, and despite it being a difficult class, I went into it knowing I was ready. As it turns out, I was able to perform as well or better in that class as the sophomores that had taken a year of high school math already. I was also well positioned for my science classes. A big part of science classes at Brebeuf is lab activities. At STA, we frequently participated in labs during science class, so I already understood the basics of experimentation and data collection. I was also able to easily handle my honors English classes at Brebeuf, especially my speech class. This, in part, was due to the fact that we had a speech section during my 8th grade year so I went in with understanding key ideas about public speaking, making that class much easier. One of my Brebeuf English teachers even told me that she was “always impressed with St. Thomas graduates.”
St. Thomas is unique in the number of extra curricular activities it offers. I was surprised to hear that many of my friends and classmates did not have nearly as many clubs as we did when they were in middle school. I remember being able to join robotics, cooking club, chess club, academic olympics, art club, yearbook, musical, karate club, spanish club, and many more in my time at STA. While as an elementary student most of what I got out of the clubs was a fun time, being encouraged to take advantage of all the opportunities has made me much more willing to get involved in high school. It felt natural to join clubs when I got to Brebeuf. Participating in extracurricular activities in high school has helped me make new friends, learn new things, and discover new interests that I didn’t know I had. Without the clubs I was exposed to at St. Thomas, I don’t think I would’ve felt as comfortable getting involved in high school, something that has been foundational to my experience at Brebeuf.
St. Thomas is also very committed to serving the community. Middle school students are required to complete a certain number of service hours each quarter. These hours include both service in the community, such as volunteering at the food pantry, and service in the school, such as helping to coach a younger kids’ sports team. Having students complete these hours makes volunteering a part of their lives, one that continues past just a requirement. At Brebeuf, our required community service hours take place as upperclassmen. Even though it wasn’t required, however, I still participated in service activities during my freshman and sophomore years because I understood the importance of service. STA taught me why volunteering is beneficial and encouraged me to serve the community far beyond requirements.
Without my STA education, I would not be the same person I am today, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities and experiences I had.
Maggie Gonzalez ‘18