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Sheldon St. Patrick School impresses Nunes family

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)

SHELDON – After a couple years in the public school system, the Nunes family has chosen to send their children to St. Patrick School in Sheldon.

Anthony and Lori Nunes’ children are Madison, a second grader; Maci, a kindergartener and Mackinley, who is two and a half.

The family moved to Sibley in 2007 and Madison started her education in the public school. Anthony and Lori chose to move her and Maci to St. Patrick’s this past fall.

“I really wanted them to go to the Catholic school,” said Anthony. “I think religion is very important.”

Choosing St. Patrick’s

“When Maci was coming up to kindergarten, we thought now is the time to make the decision because we don’t want to start moving kids over,” said Lori. “We decided to go to Sheldon because Sheldon High School is open enrollment. We have heard great things about Sheldon High School.”

She added they liked that St. Patrick’s is “so connected to the public school. We like that.” When their children play sports, they will play with the public school students.

“We were really excited about the interaction between the public school and St. Patrick’s,” said Lori.

When the Nunes family decided to visit St. Patrick School, the children were able to meet other students and really see what the school was like.

“Mrs. Huff just opened her arms and welcomed our family in,” said Lori. “They were very open, warm and inviting. It made me feel so comfortable. When I left there that day, I knew I was making the right decision for our children. I didn’t look back.”

Anthony said he is “really impressed with the school. I have a kindergartener who is writing sentences. That is pretty impressive.”

“It is a very tight knit community and everybody looks out for everybody,” said Anthony.

The main strength he sees at St. Patrick’s is the religion. When he asks his girls what they like most, they tell him, “We like going to church.”

When it comes to the cost of Catholic education, Lori said this wasn’t an issue for their family.

“We would have found some way to afford it because of the importance of having them in a Catholic school and getting that sort of education,” said Lori. “I would say to other parents who are considering it but on the fence, there is so much help out there for those parents and they shouldn’t get discouraged because of the cost.”

Excited about school

“For each child, there is a strength in each classroom that I appreciate,” said Lori. “The oldest, Madison, is so smart and she has accelerated in everything she has done.”

Madison is part of an accelerated program and can continue on so she isn’t stopped at a certain level.

“The smaller class size and a little bit more attention allow Maci to shine as a leader,” said Lori. “She does so well in school. What I love about St. Pat’s is everyone is so friendly. They seem to be on the same page. You can feel the warmth and care for the kids.”

Madison is an “avid reader” and also likes science, said Lori, who added Madison loves her teacher.

“She comes home and is excited about everything going on in her classroom because she is learning so much,” said Lori. “Maci is learning to read and write sentences, so she thinks she is so cool. It is great seeing her learn and get excited about it.”

The two older girls have taught Mackinley prayers, so they all say grace together at night.

“Seeing our family at the table every night and our children saying their prayers and having religion in their education is going to be great for our family,” said the mother.

Move from California

Anthony is a fourth generation dairy farmer from California. His family is of Portuguese decent. Anthony attended fourth to eighth grade at a Catholic school in California.

“My faith had more to do with (sending his children to a Catholic school) than me going to a Catholic school,” said Anthony. “If we lived in California, there wouldn’t be any question that my kids would be going to a private school of some sort.”

He and his wife met in high school and reconnected later on. The couple married in 2004 and Lori converted to Catholicism when they married.

The Nunes family along with Anthony’s parents moved to Sibley after buying a dairy.

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