After School Relocation, Family Remains Rome Catholic’s Biggest Fans

| February 13, 2017

The Sextons are proud supporters of Rome Catholic School. Pictured, left to right, are Isaiah, Charles, Danielle, Leah and Noah Sexton, with a sign they keep in their front yard to promote the school.



By Renée K. Gadoua

Fifth grader Isaiah Sexton thrives at Rome Catholic School. He participates in Mass, learned to play the recorder and baritone, and mentors younger students. He and his brother, Noah, a fourth grader, have participated in the school’s running club, and the family loves the school’s art classes, plays and seasonal concerts.

There was no question that Danielle and Charles Sexton would send their youngest child, Leah, there for pre-kindergarten this year. The Sextons consider Rome Catholic, a school of 74 pupils in Pre-K through Grade 6, a perfect fit for their children.

“The smaller environment and close attention allows the children to grow,” Danielle Sexton said. “We want our children to get good academics and be taught to be good citizens. It’s about making good life choices, and that’s exactly what Catholic schools provide.”

Count the Sextons as diehard fans of Rome Catholic, even as the school faces new challenges after moving from 800 Cypress St. to 400 Floyd Ave., the former St. Peter’s School building. The school opened in September in a building that was previously used as a tutorial center for the Rome City School District. The school’s previous location on Cypress Street was the site of the high school that closed in 2013.

“It was a right-sizing situation,” said Patricia Bliss, who has been Rome Catholic’s principal since 2013. “It was not good stewardship to be using a building with so many empty rooms.”

The decision worried some parents but not the Sextons.

“For us, it’s never been about the building,” Charles Sexton said. “It’s been about the environment and the teachers and the overall experience.”

Besides, he added, the building is simply a better fit. “The old building was designed as a high school, and the building we went to was designed as an elementary school. When they go to the bathroom, the sinks are the appropriate size,” he said.

As for the playground, Danielle Sexton said, “It fosters an environment where children are forced to be creative and play together. I see that as a benefit.”

The Sextons grew up in Rome. Danielle attended the former Transfiguration Elementary School, and Charles went to public school. The family attends First Presbyterian Church in Rome.

They send their children to Catholic school because it reinforces their values. “First and foremost, we believe in family,” Charles said. “We have family rules posted: Keep your promises. Think of others before yourself. Say ‘I love you.’ Do your best. Always tell the truth. We try to teach them that it’s more important to be a good person than anything else in the world.”

The Sextons are optimistic about the school’s future and eager to share their view. They even have signs in their front yard advertising the school.

“We know we have to do everything in our power to make sure the school stays economically viable,” Charles Sexton said. “We don’t believe in being passive. We’re working hard to get the word out about Rome Catholic and the valuable experience it offers.”

Renée K. Gadoua is a freelance writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter @ReneeKGadoua.

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Category: Bold Initiatives, Catholic Identity, Stewardship

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