I didn’t tell him at the time, but I was nervous for my son Andrew.
At the time, he’d been chosen to play the lead role in his school’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” It’s a complicated play with lots of moving parts. Andrew’s role would require him to memorize and deliver a daunting number of lines.
But on the day of the performance, I was astounded. Andrew and his fellow cast and crew members did an amazing job bringing the story to life. And as impressed as I was as a parent, the experience left an even greater impact on Andrew. It boosted his confidence, along with his ability to think creatively — as an individual and as a member of an artistic community.
At 15, Andrew is the youngest of my three children. His siblings are much older — one is 28, the other 31 — and I’ve noticed how the values they learned in school have shaped them as adults. That’s why, when choosing a high school for Andrew, my husband and I immediately looked to AOPS.
As a board member of Conwell-Egan Catholic High School, I had seen firsthand how it would be a perfect fit for Andrew’s passions and strengths: tight-knit, but not too small. Welcoming, but also challenging. Academic, but also art-driven.
Andrew loves science, history, and Spanish, but his first loves are the visual and performing arts. And as a family with musical interests, we’ve long held the belief that experience is paramount. The kind of living, breathing education you find at Conwell-Egan gives students an experience to remember, versus a lesson they are forced to memorize and will forget in two or three years.
“I can’t begin to count the ways Andrew’s teachers have gone above and beyond to give him that kind of well-rounded, whole-student education.”
I can’t begin to count the ways Andrew’s teachers have gone above and beyond to give him that kind of well-rounded, whole-student education. They truly love their work, which comes across loud and clear in how they encourage creative thinking. The students get inspired to succeed, and we parents get motivated to do anything it takes to keep that momentum going.
It’s true that the cost can be a challenge. But as a mother, I think it’s crucial to hold on to special gems like Conwell-Egan — not just for our own kids, but for generations to come. Because while a lesson may help students pass a test, the experience of an art-driven, value-based education forms the foundation for the adults our children will become.
Later this year, Andrew will try out for Conwell-Egan’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” And while I may still get nervous for that audition — and his potential performance — I am proud to know that he will be well-prepared for his role as a future graduate and good citizen.
Susan lives in Levittown, PA with her husband Sal and their son, Andrew, who is a sophomore at Conwell-Egan High School.