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St. Mary's Testimonials


Each of our families have their own reasons for choosing a Catholic education for their children. We asked some of them to share their stories. Here's what they have to say...

Having a granddaughter in her first year at St. Mary’s, I can honestly say I have seen amazing changes in her just in the short time she has been in school. So proud of her and this amazing educational and spiritual school.

- Mrs. Elsie Goldberg


Looking back the past four years, I can easily see the impact St. Mary's had on my academic career. At St. Mary's (and Andrean) I was surrounded by other students who were serious about their education. In fact, many of the top students in my graduating class at Andrean were also St. Mary's alumni. The serious academic environment pushed me to give my best effort.  Learning this mentality early on at St. Mary's helped me to succeed in high school. Another important aspect of my education at St. Mary's was that the faculty and staff truly cared about me as a student and as a person. Whenever I wasn't challenged enough by class, my teachers would find something else for me to do so that I could work ahead. This treatment wasn't exclusive to me. All of my teachers worked personally with students to make sure that we were all challenged at whatever level we were personally at. In junior high, I was given the opportunity to take high school courses, which also put me ahead of the when I actually started high school. In short, St. Mary's set me up for success by pushing me to always give my best and by giving me the opportunities I needed to succeed.

- Kathryn Strimbu
Andrean High School Valedictorian, 2018


St. Mary’s provided an academic challenge that prepared me well for high school. The teachers at St. Mary’s genuinely care about each student’s success.

- Paul Maicher
Andrean High School Salutatorian, 2018


My daughter Molly attended St Mary Catholic Community School for 10 years. She now attends Merrillville High School where she recently was inducted into National Honor Society. I am convinced that St Mary' s played a huge role in helping her achieve this.

- Sarah Zirlkle Murphy


My wife went to SMS and now we send our two daughters there. I am not a Catholic (yet), but anyone that spends time around the parents and faculty of this school system can see that SMS is something special, starting from the top down. Is it tougher/better than public schools? I can't really say for sure, but what I do know is that my girls are challenged and they love their school. The teachers push the students to learn and grow and my daughters have loved every teacher they have had.

- Ryan Wake


"We are very blessed that Marissa attended St Mary School in Crown Point. Thank you Mr. Ruiz and the faculty and staff for the strong foundation she received there!!"

- Mrs. Christine Sakes McCollum


Marissa is a member of the The Andrean Society. The Andrean Society is a group of students who have earned distinguished academic accomplishments. Membership in the Andrean Society requires a student to earn an "A" grade in every course enrolled in the semester. This is something that less than 6% of Andrean students achieve. This semester 30 students earned this and 11 graduated from St. Mary School.

"We are frequently reminded why we love St. Mary's School so much! Our most recent recall occurred taking down Christmas decorations. We were admiring the Three Kings wall hangings made in Mrs. Hynes class, and the many other decorations through the years made by our three children, and felt again the heart-warming appreciation we have for all the wonderful teachers at St. Mary's! They not only superbly prepared them for high school academically, but added their love, and life lessons along the way.

My family and I could go on & on why we love St. Mary's school! Let's just say it's a true family at the school, and there's not any other grade, or middle schools we would have wanted to send our children. Father Pat, and Mr. Ruiz treat our family like their own. There is no better atmosphere to learn in our opinion during the early years, but in a religious one.

This year, our oldest twin girls are seniors in college, and our youngest is a freshman in college. They are all doing excellent academically, and it began at St. Mary's! One of our girls even played varsity, college, volleyball for 4 years MIAA at Saint Mary's Notre Dame. Her love for volleyball began at St. Mary's Crown Point! The sport programs at St. Mary's are competitive and fun; but fair, so very confidence boosting for all athletes.

St. Mary's School was the best gift to my family, and we are sure it would be for your family also!

Eternally Grateful,
- Mike, Suzanne, Anna, Angela, and Michael Bukur


"It is our first year at St. Mary's. Our only regret is that we didn't come here sooner! The staff, principal, and teachers care so deeply about educating the whole child, not just achieving high test scores. All of the families are so welcoming, it truly is a great big family. We would recommend SMS to anyone!"

- A New St. Mary's Mom

"I've been a parent at St. Mary School for the last thirteen years. This school year my youngest child is working her way thru 8th grade and I look back in amazement as to how quickly time has passed.  As a mother working full-time, I remember how anxious I was on the first day of school (yes, in Pre-K) I wondered if my husband and I had made the best choice in selecting St. Mary for my children's education. I remember telling my husband that this school has a good academic curriculum; but also has the religious part that we wanted our children to have and practice on a daily basis. Working an hour away from St. Mary my anxiety lessen knowing that each child here is accounted for & each child was cared for and treated with kindness & love. Soon I discovered that my child was happy here & my husband & I both said "a Happy Child is a Happy Parent". I had a child who was extra shy & barely said three words; but in Pre-K that teacher cracked her shell & along arose a child who now considers socializing to be one of her subjects at school. Even now, having two teenagers at home they still both mention on St. Patrick's Day that the toilet water should be green on that day- thanks to their kindergarten teacher & aid- who I remember stated everything is "always a mystery".  Yes, life is a mystery; but when you have kind individuals next to you that mystery becomes bearable and full of excitement. Even letter people become heroes. Then came the excitement of reading and accumulating 100 points for pizza- that has been the best tasting pizza for my children. Our second and third grades brought the excitement of AR testing, first Reconciliation. Approaching fourth grade the thrill of First Communion was with us that whole year. Then fifth grade learning about our state & exploring Indiana on a two day field trip that proved to the kids that "yes there is more than corn in Indiana". That was the year that one of my children was so involved with the subject of Social Studies and the passion for history & politics became his favorite pastime,  His teacher gave him his own bulletin board in the classroom to decorate each week with historical facts & current events information- my child was on cloud nine. At the same time the excitement of Christmas or Spring program was there. The art projects that brought out that inner talent to expand their creativity and computer skills that have prepare them to give presentations that become alive on their screens. Later as we reached the junior class hallway we asked where has the time gone? Getting your name on the Honor Roll list & playing sports for your school gave us all a big smile. At the same time these teachers added fun to the classroom and always emphasized the word of Jesus Christ. Of course, let’s not forget the dances for our upper classmen. Another of our favorite field trip takes place in eighth grade to Washington DC, this is a four day traveling Social Studies class. The teachers make this a fun learning experience & this year our trip coincided with the visit of Pope Francis to our capital. Spending time with my children is always special, but having the opportunity to participate in their school activities always adds joy to me. Throughout the years my children have made great friends here & that friendship has continue beyond the walls of St. Mary.  As a parent and participating with fund raising activities I also have met great people & consider them my friends. Sharing afternoons on the bleachers with other parents & being there for each other at moments that life became a mystery my St.Mary Wildcat family was there. I thank all the teachers that have taken that extra step to make my children's academic career here a good foundation to take with them as they expand their wings. In that foundation it has also been stress the importance of having Christ in our hearts & minds and for that I thank God that we became Wildcats."

- Mrs. Teresa Cuza


"My wife and I wanted to personally thank everybody at St. Mary's for educating our three son's. St. Mary's has prepared them well for High School and beyond. The teachers, Principal Ruiz,Father Pat and the staff at the school and church have given them all a foundation in education and faith that will last a lifetime.The parents and students we have met in our years at St.Mary's have also been a blessing to our whole family.If anyone is looking for a great school to send their children, I highly recommend St. Mary's Catholic School."

- Mrs. Duda


St. Mary's is an amazing school. This is my second year as SMS parent and my daughter loves her school teachers and friends. The dedication of the staff and teachers is wonderful. I am happy to make the sacrifice and personal choice to send my children to a well established catholic school that has so much to offer. 

- Anonymous Parent​

"St. Mary's is one of the best decisions we made for our 3 children. Today as we watch our 2 high schoolers navigate their high school experience we are thankful for the strong foundation they built at St. Mary's. Because of the academic standards our children were held to at St. Mary's, they developed an advanced knowledge base, work ethic, and discipline that has prepared them for rigorous academic challenges in high school. Our high schoolers were not only prepared but have continued to excel in advanced courses. In addition to thriving academically, they participate in high school sports, here we are proud to see our athletes as humble, respectful, encouraging team members; character traits that were developed within the St. Mary's family and have continued to live strong. Our 7th grader is a testament to how much St. Mary's continues to evolve where academics and technology is concerned, but remain anchored in the same Christ centered, family-like community. We are excited for her future as we are now certain that she will be well prepared, just as her sibling were. We are equally sad that her time at St. Mary's is coming to a close as we will miss our wildcat family. Love and joy live in the halls and hearts of the staff and students, and it is what we will miss most about St. Mary's. We are forever thankful for all of the inspiring and positive influences that have touched our children's lives in ways that we are still realizing."


- Ken & Vicki Killion


Dear St. Mary's teachers and staff,

We just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate everything you've done to help Justin. For people that don't know Justin is autistic and he has come a long ways since coming to St. Mary's. You all have helped build the foundation for improved academic achievement, focus and social interactions. The impact of your help is so significant. It will help him for the rest of his life. We truly can't thank all of you enough and will be forever grateful. He definitely couldn't have done it without St. Mary's!!!

Our sincerest thanks,
- Rob & Mariann Patel


"We value the catholic education our daughter receives at St Mary's because we are seeing right before our very eyes the person she is becoming. The foundation and cornerstones of what makes a servant leader. Yes it is important that she develops the skills and discipline for success- but in addition to that, my personal hook to the catholic education my husband and I both received- and what I see Emily receiving are the resources to creating a better world through our commitment to our faith and simple mission to help. What the leaders and educators at St Mary's provides for just the right balance of resources I want my daughter to have exposure to during her school years."

- Susan Yadron RN BSN


The curriculum at St. Mary's more than prepared our daughter for the demands of high school. She is adept at Google Drive and other computer applications used in the high school setting, and she is handling the demands of her core classes. SMS taught her good study habits and responsibility for herself, and helped develop her spirituality. The friends she made at SMS will be a part of her life always, just as my own SMS friends from the Class of 1983 are. We are so happy with SMS!

*UPDATE: Our daughter Megan was recently accepted to the University of Notre Dame.​

- Jennifer & Patrick Ritter


We have been part of the St. Mary's family for over twelve years now.  My youngest is now an 8th grader and we are so heartbroken that our time here has come to an end. My kids who have been through a few years of high school remain close knitted to their St. Mary's "family" and have developed life long relationships through the school. When entering high school, they were completely prepared education wise, and even far ahead in some of their classes freshmen year. The basic fundamentals that St. Mary's teaches on a child's character have influenced my kids in countless ways. I can't begin to say enough about this amazing school! St. Mary's main focus is to shape a child to grow and develop to be successful in their futures, and so far it has done just that for my graduates. We will never forget the open arms St. Mary's welcomed us in with and the support we've received throughout the years.

- Sincerely, Valerie and Christopher Krutz


I have had children at St. Mary's for the past 22 years. While the staff and administrators have changed, some things have remained constant.  Based on the published test scores, it has always been evident that the children have a better chance to succeed.  They have always had a good grounding in their religion.  And what I think is most important, they spend time and are influenced by children being raised well by other parents.  With few exceptions, the children from St. Mary's are well disciplined, well mannered and kind.  Especially when entering the middle school years, it's difficult for a child not to fall into the trap of proving his or her worth by making fun of other children.  Being able to point to the example set by Jesus and the lessons He gave, enables the  teachers at St. Mary's to better handle this difficult period. 

- Doug Kvachkoff


Hello, my name is Abi Small and I graduated from St. Mary’s in 2008. I went to Crown Pont High School after attending St. Mary's for ten years, from pre-school to eighth grade. I am now a senior at Marquette University, a Catholic Jesuit University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin majoring in Exercise Physiology and in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program. Some academic awards I have received are AP scholar, National Honor Society, The National Society of High School Scholars, Academic All- State, Scholar Athlete Award, and a seven time Dean’s list member. Recently, I was also inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, a National Jesuit Honors Society, due to my academic achievements as well as my leadership and service extracurricular activities. St. Mary's was the basis for my academic development; from the beginning I was taught good study habits and was continuously challenged. I learned a vast amount of knowledge about academic subjects, religion, and myself. One of the reasons I was so prepared for high school is because the teachers at St. Mary's are amazing. They are all altruistic, helpful, intelligent, and all around wonderful people. While attending St. Mary's, one of the things that I enjoyed most was talking about religion and attending mass during the week. I often continue to attend mass during the week on Tuesday nights at the well-known St. Joan of Arc Chapel on Marquette's campus. In high school, I received the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius Servant Leadership Award for being a lector at mass and my other community service/ volunteer activities. I have continued to volunteer in college because I really enjoy it; and to think this pastime of mine might not have developed if it hadn’t been for the seventh and eighth grade service hour requirement at St. Mary's is bewildering. Performing community service is a very rewarding experience that St. Mary's encourages; it instilled values in me that I find immensely important. I have also continued to lector and am a Eucharistic minister at mass on Marquette's campus; this spring I will have been a lector for eight years. One last award I received when I was a senior in high school was the Crown Point Spirit of Optimism Award. I am honored to have received this award and believe my St. Mary's background continuously influences my optimistic behavior and was a reason I was nominated to receive this award. My Catholic background that my family and St. Mary's has instilled also greatly influenced my college choice and I’m so happy with my decision; I love Marquette and couldn't imagine attending a different university. St. Mary's provides an inviting community that I enjoyed and still enjoy being a part of today. I had a wonderful experience at St. Mary's Catholic Community School and believe it helped shape me into the individual I am today.

- Abi Small, St. Mary's Alumni


"I believe in Catholic education because it teaches faith in every aspect of education and increases the students' understanding and awareness of God in their life.  St. Mary is great because the sense of community and family is so strong."  

- Amy Mumaugh


"We chose a Catholic school because (1) the top three schools in the country are Catholic, (2) we want our son to pray in school, and (3) we want our son judged by his academic merits, not the clothes he wears."

- Gretchen Gerstenkorn  

"St. Mary's speaks volumes about the high standards of what education encompasses.  It is a great foundation for children.  Academically, and spiritually, it represents great leadership skills.  The whole "St Mary's Family" from the secretaries, nurse, principal, vice principal, and teachers show great qualities and many virtues, that most public schools do not show.  The parents are amazing too!  Very warm and receptive!  My daughter and I were amazed on the second day of school.  It was raining a bit.  The middle school kids were helping the escort the younger kids with umbrellas.  I was in awe!  What a great example to all!   WE LOVE ST. MARY'S!  Everyone is the best!  It is the best in education!

- Vicky, Katherine, and Alexandra Lindsay

My name is Julia Thorn and I'm a junior at Crown Point High School. I'm currently in extracurricular activities such as dance, choir, and German club. I am also currently participating in my school's musical production and my dance studio production. In the past, I have been lucky to perform in many community theatre shows and ballet performances. I have performed at Star Plaza, Memorial Opera House, Crown Point Community Theatre, Valparaiso University, and Crown Point High School. I have recently been awarded the Youth Art Award for Musical Theatre and participated in three shows, all while keeping a spot on the honor roll.

After my wonderful journey at St. Mary’s I decided to attend Crown Point High School. At CPHS, I am involved with show choir, advanced mix choir, vice president of Thespian Society (Theatre), and German Club. I am also in AP, honors, and dual-credit classes. With college approaching, I hope to major in musical theatre and physical therapy.

Because of St. Mary’s I have been given an amazing platform in my life. I have been challenged academically and nurtured spiritually and those elements will follow me wherever I go in life. Even though I am more involved in art based activities, St. Mary’s taught me life lessons such as never giving up, a lesson I carry on a daily basis. Although I may have not loved the uniforms but because of them, I grew to become myself without an outfit. Because of this, St. Mary’s taught me how to be an individual which is something I will be forever grateful for. So to parents thinking about sending their child to St. Mary’s, they should know that St. Mary’s isn't just a school it's a nurturing place where children blossom into young adults. 

- Julia Thorn

"We would just like to say THANK YOU to St Mary's and their teachers for giving our daughters a great foundation for life!  Our girls, Lindsay, 23yrs old and Katie 19yr old started at St. Mary's in Nursery school and went there thru 8th grade.  It was the best decision we have ever made, sending them to this great school!   St. Mary’s promotes many things.  Academics-both girls were in the National Honor Society while at Crown Point High School.  They both went on to Indiana University-Lindsay graduated in May with a B.A. degree in Human Biology and is now attending Valparaiso University working on her B.S. degree in their accelerated Nursing program-still will graduate in August and will become a R.N.  Katie is currently in her first year.  In October, due to dual credits she received at the high school-she is classified as a sophomore and will graduate a year early-working on her degree in Psychology with hope to complete her education to become an Occupational Therapist.  Their ability to work towards these goals started with their educational values set at St. Mary’s.

St. Mary’s promotes teamwork thru their CYO sports programs as well as their "Buddy" program where the older students mentor the younger ones. Katie came back to St. Mary’s as part of the D.A.R.E. program-some of the kids recognized her from when she went to St. Mary’s-can you imagine how proud Katie was coming back as a mentor to her old school?  I heard stories all the time from her visits.  Parent as well as grandparent involvement is one benefit we enjoyed at St. Mary's. Their fundraisers that help parents bond and feel as a we were all a big family- Along with  their Grandparents Day and Veteran programs welcoming the students extended families.

The students are also allowed to get involved in community services like The Angel Trees, Christmas caroling at nursing homes, working at our food pantry. These opportunities help the children feel they can make a difference-no matter how small their gesture may be.  Our Katie has been a member of the Leadership Committee for God's Groceries for a number of years.  Our Lindsay had been on the committee for the IU Dance Marathon-students raising millions of dollars for Riley's hospital in Indy.  This year, she was appointed to the executive board for the Valparaiso Marathon raising money for Lurie's children's hospital in Chicago.  Spiritually, there are a number of opportunities available for St. Mary’s students.  Both of our girls were Altar Servers beginning in 3rd and 4th grade.  Katie continued to serve til her 16th birthday then became an Eucharistic Minister-which she still serves when home on break. On any given Sunday, you will see present as well as former St. Mary students-altar serving, singing in the choir, lecturing and serving as Eucharistic Ministers.  It really brings a tear to your eye, seeing these awesome young people serving God when you think back of when they began their "Spiritual career".  Many times when we are in Church, we will have parishioners come up to us and say to the girls- "I remember when you first started serving-you were so little" and they smile-many now look up to Katie since she's now about 6 ft tall-LOL!!  So many of St. Mary’s students go on to high school and take over leadership positions at different clubs or teams.

One more story and then I'll stop (I JUST LOVE ST. MARY'S)  we took Katie down to Bloomington this August.  She is rooming with a friend that went to Andrean and we know each other’s families-comforting to us parents, but I received an email from another mom whose daughter went to a different high school then our Katie.  Her daughter was a little homesick, just as you can imagine going from high school to a university with 40,000 people so we exchange our kid’s phone numbers and the girls texted back and forth.  Katie and some St. Mary's friends met up together and assured each other that they were all there for each other if any of them needed anything.  We are so proud of our girls and their St. Mary’s friends.  Just goes to show, once part of the St. Mary's Family, always part of the Family!!  

We hope God Blesses you as He did our family when you make the choice of sending your children to St Mary’s."

- Tina Howarth


If you would like to share a testimonial, please email

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