Inside the Catholic High School Student Experience

Inside the Catholic High School Student Experience

Wondering what it is really like to attend a Catholic high school? Though we could go on about its many benefits, we know the best way to get to know the Catholic high school experience is through the words of our students themselves.

To help you get an idea of the friendships, classroom environment, student/teacher relationships and extra-curricular activities that a Catholic high school offers, we asked three current students to reflect on the people and experiences that have shaped their last few years.


Q. How did you make new friends when you got to high school?

Maddy ’20: I made new friends playing soccer in the fall and through activities such as Freshwomen Fun Day. Soccer began in August and I was able to meet and befriend other incoming freshmen before school started.


Q. What class has challenged you most during your time at school? What did you learn from this experience?

Taylor ’21: During my sophomore year, I had to take Algebra II/Trigonometry—a really difficult course that most people take their junior year. There was homework every night, but it prepared me for the Regents exam at the end of the year. I learned that I could not be lazy, and that taking extra steps to prepare is important.


Canisius High School

Q. What are your favorite extra-curricular activities and why?

Gabriel ’21: Student Council and Varsity Baseball. I chose to get involved with Student Council because it allows me to have an impact on student and campus life. I am asked to submit ideas on ways to improve life on campus and for possible fundraising campaigns to support our initiatives. Baseball allows me to compete, escape the stresses of everyday life, have fun and better myself. Both of these activities offer opportunities to meet new people, have new experiences and to open doors for future endeavors.


Q. What kind of experiences have you shared with friends that brought you closer together?

Maddy ’20: I have made strong bonds with my friends through retreats and school events. Every year, each grade goes on a retreat for the day and spends time connecting with classmates. Throughout the year, students gather together at sports games and spirit week to make memories that will last forever.


Q. Describe a time you felt a teacher went above and beyond to help you accomplish something.  

Taylor ’21: My chemistry teacher really helped me and my classmates throughout the year. If we were busy with activities outside of school, she would try her best to accommodate us. She would also help us understand material better, prepare for Regents and add to our grades by allowing us to make corrections on tests.

St. Mary’s High School

Q. What has been the most valuable part about participating in an extra-curricular activity at your school?

Gabriel ’21: The new relationships I have made. The bonds I have built with teachers, coaches, students and teammates have been very positive. These relationships make me feel supported, welcome and comfortable. I could not be more thankful for the people who surround me.


Q. What memory of your friends will you always remember when you look back on your time at school?

Maddy ’20: Every spirit week, each grade creates a karaoke dance and performs it for the school. The winner of this dance earns a lot of spirit points and the grade with the most spirit points wins spirit week. During my junior year, my grade was behind in points, and our dance was the last chance at winning. We practiced hard, won the dance and, as a result, won spirit week! I will never forget celebrating and winning with my classmates.


Q. What do you like most about the classroom environment at your school?

Taylor ’21: Our guidance counselors divide students, so we have less people in our classrooms. Smaller classes are a really valuable benefit. They have had a really positive influence on my own learning. There are less distractions which helps me get my work done more efficiently.


Q. How have your extra-curricular experiences prepared you for the next step?

Gabriel ’21: They have opened doors for me that would not have been opened otherwise. Baseball may give me the opportunity to experience playing at the collegiate level. Student Council has given me experience in public speaking, creating and implementing plans, and working with others—all of which will help me in my future.


Q. What kinds of things have you learned from your friends at school?

Maddy ’20: My friends have taught me how important it is to support one another. No matter what is happening, my friends are always there for each other. There has never been a time that I have felt lonely and excluded.


Q. What is the most valuable thing you have learned in the classroom?

Taylor ’21: I have learned you have to work hard for your grades and your diploma. You have to strive for academic excellence. You have to do your homework or at least try, and you have to study for your tests. It may seem like it is pointless right now, but it prepares you for the next step.


Our Catholic high schools are places where students find community, build lasting relationships and find support that prepares them to take the next step. If this is the high school environment you are searching for, we encourage you to attend an upcoming open house to find the right fit.

Don’t forget to save the date for the entrance exam: November 21, 2020