Parent, Board Member Reflects on Holy Child Education

October 14, 2019

Chad Norton, Trustee and MJS Parent, Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus, Pasadena, CA

My older daughter just began eight grade at Mayfield Junior School in Pasadena, California. Over this past summer I spent some time reflecting on her (and our) Holy Child journey over the past eight years.

I have been blessed to have had a unique perspective to witness her growth at Mayfield: first as a volunteer in the school’s annual fund efforts; then as a member of the board of trustees; and finally as the chair of our current capital campaign.

Before we knew anything about Cornelia Connelly or a Holy Child education, my wife and I had determined that we wanted our daughters to have the opportunity for a well-rounded education, one that would emphasize not only a strong academic curriculum, but also would enhance their spirituality, sense of purpose and desire to give back to the community. We were unaware that for more than a century, the Society and its member schools had been doing just that.

Over the past eight years, it has become clear to me that delivering a Holy Child education is an art, not a science. It begins early on with a solid foundation of faith formation and experiential learning, and continues to build on both traditional and forward-looking academic methods with each successive grade. I am always fascinated when speaking with prospective parents who comment that they’ve heard Mayfield is a religious school but that is not on par academically with other private schools in the area. When I ask what these views are based on, the typical response is “if you’re educating the Whole Child, you must be sacrificing academic rigor.” At that point I introduce them to one of our either grade students, who proceeds to wow them with an articulate discussion of just what it means to have had a Holy Child education at Mayfield. Without fail, incoming parents tell us how impressed they were with the interaction.

At each board of trustees meeting throughout the year, a board member provides a reflection on one of the Holy Child goals. Each reflection reminds us, often through very personal stories, how Mayfield demonstrates the power and impact of the seven goals on our children and our community. The Mayfield trustees, administrators, faculty and staff commit themselves to educate by these principles and to lead our students to embrace these values for themselves.

As I again reflect on my family’s experience at Mayfield, I have never regretted on taking the leap of faith in putting our daughter’s in Cornelia’s hands. We have never felt compromised; rather, we have been embraced by a spiritual and intellectual community that is committed to embracing each child’s unique personality and intellect while seeking to meet the wants of the age.

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