Movin' to the MOUNT
"I Wouldn't Trade My Experience for Anything"
BY Hanna Guarnuccio '18
Before starting high school, lots of people told me that high school is some of the best years of your life and I can confidently say that those people were right because I would not trade my experience at Mount Saint Mary Academy for anything. When I was visiting high schools in the 7th and 8th grade, I knew I wanted a school that provided me with three things: academic rigor, an opportunity for spiritual growth, and a supportive school community. I quickly found all of these things at the Mount, making it an incredible four years.
As a senior preparing for college next year, there are lots of things to consider in terms of where I want to go and what I want to study, but no matter what decisions I make, one thing is for certain -- I will be ready. Because of the tremendous course options, the Mount has prepared me so well for college that I feel confident about my ability to handle the course load next year. The Mount has allowed me to take college-level classes in subjects that truly interest me such as macroeconomics, comparative government and politics, and computer science -- courses that not many schools offer. Because of this ability to study what you like, the Mount fosters a community of individuals who are passionate about learning - an environment that I have found incredibly motivating. Plus, a benefit to the small school size is the individual attention each student receives from teachers. Over the years, I have gotten to know my teachers and they really are invested in my success, always helping me in any way they can. The academic rigor in addition to the supportive teaching staff is one of the main reasons I have enjoyed my Mount experience so much.
My faith is something that is very important to me. I attended Catholic grammar school, go to church every weekend with my family, and I am a leader in my parish youth group. So, finding a school that provided me with the opportunity to deepen my faith was key. I found this at the Mount through the annual class-level retreats and masses throughout the year. Soon, I will be attending Kairos, a four-day retreat for seniors, and I am really looking forward to it! We also have Service Day each year when each grade participates in a different service activity in the surrounding community. One of my favorite memories from this day was sophomore year when my group volunteered at a nursing home in Summit. I talked to many of the elderly people at the the home and learned their stories. It was a great way for me to connect with and serve my community. I appreciate all the opportunities for spiritual growth that the Mount has provided and will cherish those experiences for a lifetime.
Finally, I have loved my Mount experience because of the community. All-girls schools create a stress-free environment where you can just be yourself. Over the years, I have become very involved in the Mount community as I am a member of the Student Council Executive Board, a Peer Facilitator Mentor, and captain of the Varsity Soccer team. This has allowed me to connect to my school community and what I have come to understand is that the Mount is unlike any other school. The Mount community, or as we like to say, MOUNT PACK, is full of motivated, supportive people who want you to be the best you can be always. I am so happy that I decided to become a member of the Mount Pack four years ago and hope that you do the same!
Mount Saint Mary Academy:
The Right Foundation for High School Women Today
by Mrs. Daria MacDonald, mother of Erica '19 and Julia '16
The high school years are challenging and formative years for any teen. Finding the right school for your child during this time is as important as any decision you will make in this stage of their life. What parent doesn’t want their child be in an environment where they can grow, find fulfillment and be happy? Mount Saint Mary Academy (MSMA) provides young women a place where this can happen and so much more.
When considering high schools for our daughters, we researched the options much like you would when considering a college choice: what size is the school, where is it located, what is the student body like, what is the ratio of faculty to student, what is its academic success, what extra-curricular opportunities are available. After reviewing public and private options, and going through the rigors of visits, orientations, and varied admissions processes, we chose MSMA for our daughters and could not have been happier with that choice.
MSMA has not only provided a superior academic experience for our girls as a leading, accredited college prepatory school, but it has become a second home to our daughters. Here, they have been encouraged to stretch themselves to their fullest potential with the help of a dedicated, caring, and engaged faculty and staff that take personal interest in each student. Our daughters have been challenged to identify and pursue their passions and interests --academically, artistically, athletically, and socially. And, they have been instructed to seek opportunities where they can actualize these interests into life building experiences -whether it be through a course of study, a club, a team or an activity.
But particularly important at MSMA is the emphasis on developing the whole person. As an independent, all-girls Catholic school, young women grow and perform in an environment where they can be authentic and themselves without undue judgement or criticism. In addition to focusing on the traditional aspects of high school life, our girls have been encouraged to develop their spiritual life as well – not only as an academic exercise, but through service opportunities where they are able to put their belief system into practice. They are taught to look beyond their days on the Hill and their life at home, to the communities in which they live and to the world that they will embrace as they move into adulthood. They have learned to both lead and follow – to handle successes and adversity – to find their voice and to be heard – and to hear and respond to the call of others seeking assistance with action.
We have witnessed the growth and development of our daughters as confident, independent, intelligent, accomplished, enthusiastic, caring women. And, we have seen the foundation and tools provided by MSMA put to use in mastering education at the high school level and into college. We would recommend MSMA to any young woman who seeks a high school experience that provides the opportunities to learn and grow as an individual, as a student, as a member of many communities and as a woman of spiritual strength and integrity. We need such women in our world today and we are confident that Mount Saint Mary Academy succeeds in fostering these women. We know because they have done just that for us.
Daria MacDonald is the mother of two daughters who have attended MSMA. Her eldest daughter is now a junior in college and her younger daughter is a senior at The Academy.