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DifferenceMakers: Marsha Kessler

Please tell us about yourself. This is my second year as a teacher at Holy Family Catholic School in Grand Blanc. I teach fifth grade math and religion and sixth grade reading. Prior to my time at Holy Family, I taught for four and half years in the Pre-Primary Impaired Program in the Flint Community Schools and nine years at St. Pius X in Flint.

I believe in Catholic education because our world needs people who choose daily to live according to Catholic virtues. Our Catholic schools are helping to form those people.

Describe your school. When I began teaching at Holy Family a year and a half ago, the first thing I noticed was how friendly and genuinely happy everyone was, from the staff to the students and families. Now that I have been a part of the school for a while, I can say that Holy Family truly has a positive atmosphere that manifests itself in many ways including smiles and greetings in the hallway, parents happy to help out any way that they can, and staff who continually work to provide better experiences for the children.

What drew you to teaching at a Catholic school? Catholic schools have been a part of my life for many years. As a child, I attended St. Pius X Catholic School and Powers Catholic High School in Flint. My husband, also a product of local Catholic schools, and I chose our home parish’s school to send our children to when they became school-aged. When an opening appeared on the school staff, I couldn’t imagine a better place to work. It was my home parish, my alma-mater, my children’s school, and my work place all rolled into one!  Catholic schools have always felt like a family to me, and that atmosphere is what drew me to want to work there, as well.

I love being a teacher for many reasons. One is watching children get excited about what they are learning. The way their faces light up is unbelievable!  Another reason is the partnership that teachers have with parents. Parenting today can be tough, and I am happy that I can support parents in their role of preparing children for the future. Lastly, I love teaching because I feel as though I am doing my part to help make our world a better place through the children I work with.

My biggest challenge is being able to nurture that passion in all of my students. As a class, the children have such varied needs, and it is difficult to find what each particular child needs at each moment.

My greatest rewards are when my more reluctant learners experience excitement and passion about what they are learning. Those moments are simply awesome!

What do Catholic schools do best? I believe that Catholic schools are better than others at nurturing the whole child. Parent involvement is also a huge part of our school atmosphere and adds to the idea that a child is an extension of his or her family. He or she is more than just the student sitting in the seat.

Also, it's the ability to take time out from academics whenever necessary to thank God for his blessings, to petition Him during times of difficulty, and to discuss Christian virtues as part of behavioral discipline also support the nurturing of the whole child. Holy Family does all of this while recognizing the uniqueness of each individual student. Even students who don’t shine academically feel valued and special.