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Church-going family didn’t realize Catholic education was within reach

The Catholic faith is an integral part of the Jimenez household. Dad is a cantor and lector at the local parish where his kids also distribute the bulletin after Mass each Sunday—but for many years, both parents thought the idea of sending their children to a private Catholic school was out of the question for financial reasons.

“We were involved in the church for years,” Griselda Jimenez, mother of two, says speaking through a translator. “But we never thought that my husband and I could afford to send our children to a Catholic school because we always thought it was only for the rich.”

However, school principal Maria Palermo assured her that Together in Mission helps supplement the tuition costs for families struggling financially.

“Together in Mission has allowed those kids to attend who otherwise couldn’t,” Palermo says. She adds that the charity appeal also helps keep the school operations going.

Griselda says she wanted to send her daughter, Italia, now 8, to All Saints because of the respect the teachers and staff showed her family. “A lot of attention was given to our family,” she says. Griselda adds that she believes her daughter, who began at All Saints in kindergarten, is more academically advanced than she would be at the local public school.

Although her younger son, Sharu, five, does attend public school because his health concerns demand specific resources, Griselda says the All Saints teachers are still eager to assist in his education, supplying her with school worksheets to also keep him at an advanced level.

The entire staff and faculty at All Saints know Sharu. Cynthia Farfan, the school’s office manager, has known him for many years and says his health continues to improve. “He’s a great kid,” she says. “We love him so much.”

Griselda feels the school’s support. “I not only see the faculty as professional teachers,” she says. “But I also see them as a family.”

To show her gratitude and to defray the cost of tuition, both Griselda and her husband, Jesus, assist in keeping the school clean. The bare-bones budget of the school means parents volunteer to clean the school in order to forgo the expense of a custodian. Griselda is there every day to clean the classrooms.

This isn’t the only way the family assists the school and shows their gratitude. Jesus has painted a large mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the school’s staffroom. He has also gifted Palermo a painting of one of her favorite saints, St. Padre Pio.

Griselda is proud of the work that her husband has done. “He never studied to be an artist. It’s pure inspiration. Whatever he dreams about or thinks about,” she says. “Whenever he is not working, painting is something that he does on the side.”

She is praying to be able to soon send her son to All Saints once his health improves. But for now, Griselda is grateful for the school’s small class sizes and the dedicated teachers that help her daughter learn.

A public school, she explains, would be too much for her daughter. “If my daughter went to a larger school, maybe a public school, she’d be overwhelmed by the class sizes,” she says.

Griselda’s loyalty to the school is evident, but it’s her dedication to her children that drives her. “Parents have to get involved to make things possible for their kids,” she says—and she wants other parents to join her. “I’m a great recruiter,” she says. “I’m always telling my neighbors and friends about the school.”

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