Choosing a college is a huge decision. There are so many considerations, from majors and costs, to campus amenities and location. While all important factors, the greatest consideration is the impact the college will make on the student’s character and ability to know and live the Catholic faith. At Christendom, the entire educational experience – from the robust liberal arts curriculum and student life policies, to the vibrant Catholic cultural community and extra-curricular offerings, seeks to help students thrive in their vocation to holiness and to become the people that God has created them to be.
Over the past 42 years, many families have entrusted the education of their children to Christendom. Some have sent one or two, others six or seven, and then there is current freshman, James Hambleton, who is the 10th in his family to attend. Families see the great value of the education and the results of attending a truly Catholic college – even though the cost to attend can, at times, be very sacrificial to them.
During the current year, there are five families who each have three children enrolled at the same time. Due to the college’s generous financial assistance, offered through merit- and need-based aid, as well as through its unique sibling discount program, these five families have found the cost to attend to be within their means, and beyond that, of infinite value.
Carlos and Adela Pardo-Gasque, parents of Carlos (’20), Adela (’20), and Santiago (’22) are making a big sacrifice to send their three children to Christendom – all the way from Mexico! They wanted to send their children to an institution that would help them to build character, think morally, and live virtuously. This is exactly what they have found at Christendom.
“At Christendom College, our children get a Catholic education in the Thomistic tradition, which is very rare today anywhere in the world,” the Pardo-Gasques shared. “At Christendom they have professors who take both knowledge and faith seriously. They continue to develop their character, which is the most important part of education.”
The parents of Monica (’20), Emily (’21), and Ben (’22), Douglas and Kelly Guza, have found Christendom to be a remarkable blessing in their children’s lives. But initially, the Guzas were ambivalent about their children attending Christendom.
“We thought the size of the college would be a limiting factor on their education,” Mrs. Guza shared. “But just the opposite has occurred. In fact, there are many opportunities that open up because of Christendom’s size. You are definitely not just a number at Christendom.”
Because of the college’s small size, professors know students by name, and it is possible to take advantage of many extracurricular opportunities. For example, their children have been able to compete on sports teams and get involved with clubs, while still being able to focus on school. Emily and Ben even travelled on a mission trip together.
The Guzas believe that the community life at Christendom has been the greatest of blessings for their children.
“Our children have made friendships that will last them a lifetime,” Mrs. Guza shared. “They are supported and nurtured by a wide range of people from teachers, coaches, priests, fellow students, and the entire staff that allows the college to function. They are becoming the man and women God created them to be.”
Francis Scarchilli’s three children, Emilie (’20), Frank (’22), and Sarah (’23), are flourishing at Christendom. He has seen incredible intellectual and spiritual growth in each of his children. Seeing the excitement his children have about their classes and hearing the intellectual discussions they share has left him “in awe” and has affirmed his belief that Christendom delivers on its promise to provide a solid intellectual formation.
“When you hear your children tell you that they are seeking spiritual guidance from the Chaplain, going to daily Mass, spending time in adoration, and are part of a men’s small group, you know that the environment at Christendom has nurtured them and helped them grow in their faith,” said Scarchilli.
It has been a great joy for Scarchilli to observe his children come into their own at Christendom, and grow intellectually and spiritually with the aid of the college community.
Guy (’89) and Mary Kate Smith (’97) are Christendom alumni and the parents of Christina (’21), Bernadette (’22), and Dominic (’23).
According to Mrs. Smith, she and her husband hoped that their children would choose to go to Christendom, but they did not push the issue. Their only request was that their children attend the Experience Christendom Summer Program (ECSP). After attending the ECSP, each of their children decided they too wanted to become a Crusader, a decision that was exciting for Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Mrs. Smith shared that even though the student body has grown, and the amenities improved since she and her husband were students, the values and joyful spirit of Christendom have remained.
“The experiences they have had, the friends they have made, the professors by whom they’ve been instructed, the sports teams on which they have played, the priestly presence on campus, the daily Mass offered; all of it is shaping them to be good friends, helpful teammates, honorable citizens, and faithful members of the Catholic Church,” shared Mary Kate. “What parent could ask for more?”
George and Marcia Hund, parents of Bernadette (’21), Eileen (’21), and Marissa (’23), are also inspired by the impact Christendom’s has made on their children.
“We are thrilled when the girls tell us about the excellent lectures they regularly hear from their professors and the fine example their professors give as Catholics,” remarked Mr. Hund. “Our daughters are growing in holiness, with a deeper knowledge and understanding of the teaching and history of the Church, as well as an increased understanding of what contribution God is asking each of them to make in the world.”
Seeing what a remarkable impact Christendom has made on their oldest children, George and Marica Hund hope to send the rest of their eight children to Christendom.
“It is a big investment to send our children there, so we appreciate the financial aid and the academic scholarships offered by the college,” said Mr. Hund.
“Can I afford this education?” is a common question asked by many families looking to attend a private Catholic college. For these five families, and hundreds more, they tend to focus on another question: ”Can I afford not to have this education?” Based on the results of the college’s alumni, who are remaining Catholic, having great vocations to marriage and religious life, and living in the world working to restore all things in Christ, Christendom families shout a resounding “no” to that question and embrace all that the college has to offer.