When parents get together to socialize, they often talk about what they have in common, which often happens to be their children. If they have college-aged children, they might talk about where their kids go to school and about what they are studying. If they have kids in high school, most of the parents are used to hearing that their peers’ children attend a local public high school or maybe a local private school.
But what if a parent told you that their child goes to a boarding school? That would definitely spark up some conversation and possibly lead to questions surrounding what helped them make the decision to send their child to boarding school.
That’s why we talked with Mrs. Jody Tran-Le, mother of four boys, whose two oldest boys graduated from St. Lawrence Seminary High School, her third is currently at SLS, and her fourth is waiting for his turn to go.
FS: Did you plan to send your son(s) to St. Lawrence? If not, what was your original plan?
JL: No, that wasn’t the original plan. The original plan was for them to attend public school.
FS: What made you decide to send your first son to St. Lawrence?
JL: It was actually our son's decision. He found out one of his friends was planning on attending and on his own account, he did his own research and decided he wanted to attend.
We also did our own research and found out there were not a lot of All-Boys Catholic Boarding Schools in the United States, but based on the school’s reputation, academic standards, and word-of-mouth recommendations, we decided St. Lawrence was the best choice for our son.
FS: How far is your home from your St. Lawrence? Did the distance make things difficult? If so, how?
JL: St. Lawrence Seminary is over 800 miles away from our home. It was difficult at the beginning since it was the first time our son has been out of the house for a long period of time. When there were opportunities for the parents to come and visit, we couldn't just pick up and drive to go visit him. We were limited to the Parent Weekend and Weekend Visit, therefore, we were not able to visit our son as often as we would like.
FS: How did attending boarding school affect your son(s)? (ex: maturity, independence, academics, friendships, etc)
JL: It was a very positive outcome. We noticed drastic changes with our son from the time he entered SLS until now.
First, in his maturity/responsibility levels. He's always looking out for his siblings as well as others, he takes responsibilities for his actions, assist others when needed, he's more caring for the less fortunate, and always thinking about other people’s well-being before himself. Second, in his respectability. He treats everybody with respect, and he understands that to “earn respect” he needs to “show respect.” Third, in his conservativeness. He understands the value of a dollar and what it takes to earn it. He has become very frugal.
Fourth, in his friendship/brotherhood. SLS is very diverse when it comes to the ethnicity of the students. The school has helped built a friendship/brotherhood for my son with his classmates worldwide that will last a lifetime. Up to this day, our son still keeps in touch with majority of his classmates via social media, emails, phone, etc. Fifth, in his college preparation. SLS has done a lot of things to prepare our son(s) for college. The school has helped to prepare him for dorm life and to be independent. The class standards and expectation levels are high which greatly helped him to be more prepared for the college level education. And last, the most important thing that we’ve gained from having our son attend SLS is that he has become more spiritual. His faith with the Franciscan Friars and Catholicism has grown stronger and stronger. He's always looking for opportunities to help the less fortunate.
In addition, we’ve gained a son that is more confidence about who he is, who has a strong will in what he believes in, who know what it means to be “respectful”, and who is a great “helping hands” to others.
FS: Are you happy with your decision to send your son to St. Lawrence?
JL: Yes, without a doubt. It was the best decision we could’ve made and if we had to turn back the clock, we would not have changed a thing. To this day, we can't thank the staff enough for the wonderful job that they've done to mold our son(s) in the positive way they have.
Having your son or daughter attend a boarding school can be a difficult choice to make, but it can also be a great experience for your child and the family. It can be a little intimidating, as this can be unchartered territory for your family, but don’t let that stop you from at least exploring the option of a boarding school to see if it is a good fit for your son or daughter.
So, be ready for that next parent get-together: where is your child going to high school?