Blanchet teacher Karen Parton Lee shares her experience attending Salem Area Catholic Schools.
What years did you attend?
St. Vincent 1993-1997, St. Joseph 1997-1999, Blanchet 1999-2005
When did you graduate?
2005 from Blanchet
What is your current occupation?
Spanish and ESL teacher at Blanchet
How did your education benefit you and prepare you for your future?
I had the opportunity to explore many different subjects including Anatomy and Physiology, Drama, Choir, advanced math, college writing, photography and pottery. This helped me discover what my hobbies, interests, passions, and career choices. I took academically rigorous classes from experienced, high-quality teachers who cared about my academic success and personal growth.
What was your favorite part of attending Salem’s Catholic schools?
I excelled in the small environment where personal relationships with teachers and students were able to develop and are still lasting today, 13 years after graduation.
What aspect of your education had the biggest impact on you?
Because of the small school setting, there was little competition for sports and the arts within the school (Blanchet was still competitive in the league), meaning I didn’t have to be an amazing soccer player to play on the varsity soccer team or have an incredible voice to be in a musical production. The activities were open to all students, no matter their skill level, which allowed me to do a variety of activities and learn many different arts, communication, and academic skills.
What was the greatest benefit of your Catholic education and how did it impact you?
Because the school taught Catholic values, we were able to learn from teachers and openly talk about our place in the world as stewards of the Earth, service, and social justice.
What do you wish people knew about Catholic education in Salem?
It is an education for everyone, not just people who are Catholic or spiritual. It is for families who wish to bestow on their children the values of kindness, inclusivity, social justice, and those seeking to make a difference in the world today and in their future careers.