When Kathy Marconi put her first born child, Kristen, on the school bus in August of 1992 for her first day of kindergarten at Saint Jude School, little did she know that nineteen years later she would once again be seeing her daughter off for her first day at St. Jude School as the new Pre-K teacher.
"Kristen was so excited to put on a plaid jumper and red tie and of course that pink Lands’ End backpack and board the bus in August of 1992," said Kathy. "Fast forward 19 years and swap the jumper and tie for business casual and the backpack for a Vera Bradley tote! As a Mom, it’s been exciting to watch Kristin follow her dream of becoming a teacher and landing right back where she spent nine years of her life."
I attended St. Jude School from kindergarten through 8th grade,” said Kristin. "As a student at St. Jude for nine years, I not only received a strong education, but also learned fundamental skills that prepared me for my future. By growing up in such a close knit community, St. Jude became more than a school. It was a family. The traditions passed on year after year showed the dedication of not only the teachers and students of St. Jude, but also the dedication of the parents and volunteers that made St. Jude such a great place to be."
Kristin graduated from St. Jude School in 2001, "As the oldest students in the school we were finally ready to move forward and see what the rest of the world had to offer and what we could offer the rest of the world. St. Jude truly prepared me for these new beginnings."
Kristen attended St. Joseph High School where she graduated in the top of her class as a member of both the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. She then went on to Stonehill College where she graduated cum laude with a double major in Elementary Education and American Studies and was a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education.
According to Kristen the similarities at St. Jude School from then and now are many. "The teachers, students, and parents continue to work together to create a close knit school and the dedicated teachers truly, care for their students," she said.
Kristen counts among the similarities the strong religious foundation, "the school is built on faith with morning/afternoon prayer, living rosaries, the Christmas pageant, monthly masses, Stations of the Cross, and Advent and Lenten prayer services," she said.
Many of the schools traditions continue today-Catholic school week, the 7th and 8th grade dance, the walk-a-thon, the Thanksgiving feast, and the May crowning. Perhaps Kristin's favorite tradition is the St. Jude basketball tournament, "Playing basketball and being in the basketball tournament was the highlight of the beginning of the school year and winning a banner to put in the gym was even better. The Suburban League Champs 1998-1999 banner hangs with pride."
When asked what it feels like returning to teach at the school she once attended Kristen remarked, "Returning ten years later as a teacher has truly been a remarkable experience. Although the school has definitely changed since I left in 2001 it still continues to hold a strong foundation in the religious traditions and community atmosphere, it was built upon."
The differences in the school that Kristin has observed since she graduated include greater technology advancements, more opportunities to explore extracurricular activities; the classrooms and the main office are located in different places and a change in the school uniforms.
How she feels overall about teaching at St. Jude School, Kristin said, "As a teacher and alumnus, I feel an added weight on my shoulders to provide my students with the same experience I was given when I attended St. Jude. One of the reasons I pursued a degree in teaching was due to the teachers I had at St. Jude. They truly wanted to see my individual success and pushed my classmates and me to our best and brightest potential. As a teacher I want to see my students challenge themselves as they reach their own goals and truly grow towards the future. Even though the Pre-K has a long way of education ahead of them, providing them with a positive outlook on school and the beginnings of the foundation of their education truly makes me feel that I have succeeded in my career."
The Saint Jude School family is thrilled to say "Welcome Home" to Kristen Marconi as she continues her teaching career right back where she started!