Below we have addressed the most common questions from both students and parents. Of course, should you have additional questions, please contact Director of Enrollment Mrs. Maria Zurliene – no question is too small!
Friends: How will I meet people? Will I make friends?
When surveyed, our freshmen consistently report that meeting new people and making new friends are two of their favorite aspects of attending Mater Dei.
Recognizing that high school is filled with new experiences, we, as a school community, focus on assisting freshmen with their transition. In May, we host a Freshman Welcome to provide the opportunity for freshmen to meet their new classmates. To begin the school year, freshmen experience two unique events: a freshmen-only first day and an overnight freshmen lock-in led by the faculty and seniors. Throughout the year, the freshmen meet monthly with their mentor group, which includes classmates from various towns. Our administration and faculty also observe and communicate with students on a continual basis.
Academics: Will I receive assistance, if necessary? Will I maintain good grades?
The members of our faculty take pride in working with all students to assist them in achieving success. As a result, our teachers help students before school, during the daily school-wide study hall, and after school. In fact, when surveyed, our freshmen consistently report that our teachers are one of their favorite aspects of attending Mater Dei. In addition, our students may request a peer tutor, who will provide additional assistance during specific daily school-wide study halls. Finally, PlusPortals, our interactive web portal, provides academic reports, allowing students and parents to monitor academic progress.
Extracurricular Activities: Will I be interested? How will I join?
We believe that extracurricular activities play an important role in the lives of our students, for they provide an opportunity for students to explore, to develop, and to share their gifts and talents. Thus, we are proud to offer an extensive variety of activities and athletics.
Aside from athletics, numerous activities hold meetings during the daily school-wide study hall, thereby minimizing, and at times eliminating, the need for meetings after school hours. Moreover, our students are then able to participate in multiple activities.
At the recommendation of past students, we provide our incoming freshmen with our Extracurricular Activities Guide, which lists the moderator(s) of and descriptions of our activities and athletics. We also host an activities fair during the second week of school, during which students may sign-up for activities and receive information from current members.
In the words of our students . . .
“With an environment that promotes and encourages students to achieve their best, Mater Dei is a remarkable place for academics. The faculty challenges students in their classes, and students strive to attain high goals. Mater Dei’s academic environment truly values the success of students and prepares them for the next level of education.”
Logan Mattson, Class of 2021, St. Boniface Catholic Church, Germantown
“Mater Dei instills in her students a firm foundation to love and to serve others. With faith-based clubs such as St. Vincent de Paul Society and Teens for Life, my classmates and I have been given opportunities to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and to hold fundraisers for those in need. Thanks to Mater Dei, I am excited to live out Jesus’ mission and to incorporate it into my everyday life.”
Katherine Wieseman, Class of 2020, St. Paul Catholic Church, Highland
“As a student commuting from a town 30 miles from Mater Dei, starting high school was a very daunting experience for me. However, the Mater Dei community is welcoming, which helped relieved my stress and fear. With several activities and sports available, I became involved and quickly made friends. Mater Dei has something for everyone! In addition, Mater Dei provides a first day for only freshmen and an overnight freshman lock-in. These events bring the freshman class together and make the transition to high school easier. My experience at Mater Dei has certainly been worth traveling the distance!”
Faith Rackers, Class of 2020, St. Clare Catholic Church, O’Fallon
“Mater Dei offers the opportunity to participate in multiple activities. Personally, I participate in both band and athletics. The band directors and coaches are very supportive and willing to “split” practices when a conflict arises. Additionally, serving as a member of multiple activities has helped me develop leadership skills, time-management skills, and a variety of friendships.”
Ellen Antonacci, Class of 2021, St. Dominic Catholic Church, Breese
“As a student who enjoys learning, I appreciate the dedication of the teachers at Mater Dei. They take the time to know their students, academically and personally, and challenge their students to push themselves. Also, the teachers are flexible when arranging a time to discuss my questions. I know I will be well prepared for the future!”
Trina Brokering, Class of 2021, St. George Catholic Church, New Baden
From our experiences with prospective parents, we have addressed the most frequently asked questions in the paragraphs below. Prospective parents with additional questions are welcome to contact Mrs. Maria Zurliene, Director of Enrollment (618.526.7216).
Tuition Assistance: Does Mater Dei provide tuition assistance for families?
Recognizing the varied financial resources of our families, our school board and administration are committed to providing tuition assistance to families who possess a strong desire to join the Mater Dei family. Thus, families may apply annually for memorial grants, which we offer to all families who qualify financially. Additionally, we encourage families to apply for scholarships (academic, leadership, and need-based) offered by Mater Dei, their parish, or their school. For additional information, please visit our “Scholarships and Tuition Assistance” page.
Transportation: Will our family’s limited means of transportation limit our child’s participation in athletics and activities?
Aside from athletics, numerous activities hold meetings during the daily school-wide study hall, thereby minimizing, and at times eliminating, the need for meetings after school hours. In addition, when waiting after school for activities or athletics, students are welcome to remain on campus and utilize the library and the Lampe Commons (student center). In fact, on a daily basis, we observe students studying and relaxing with peers or preparing a snack (vending machines and microwaves are available in the Lampe Commons). Finally, families often develop carpools, thereby reducing the travel obligation for each family.
REMINDER: For travel to and from school (not extracurricular activities), we provide free transportation for students living outside the Central Community High School district: east to Salem, north to Highland, south to Mt. Vernon, and west to Route 4 (Mobil) and I-64/Air Mobility Drive. (Routes may change due to the demographics of our students.)
Academics: Can Mater Dei meet the academic needs of my child?
We offer a comprehensive, multi-level curriculum that provides all students, including those needing academic accommodations, the opportunity both to challenge themselves and to achieve success by enrolling in the level of courses that meets their needs. More importantly, recognizing that a child’s academic needs vary by discipline, we do not “track” our students. In addition, during the daily school-wide study hall, our students possess the opportunity to receive additional assistance from their teachers and/or peers. Finally, we are proud to offer PlusPortals, our online link between school and home, which provides parents and students the opportunity to view academic reports and to communicate with teachers, thereby ensuring our ability to work hand-in-hand with parents for the benefit of our students.
Our parents, in their own words . . .
“My child’s transition from grade school to high school has been extremely smooth! The personalization that Mater Dei offers has made all the difference.”
“I am proud of the outstanding academics and Catholic experience my child receives at Mater Dei!’”
“After one week at Mater Dei, my child said, ‘I never knew teachers would care as much as these teachers do.’”
“My child’s grades and attitude are better than ever because at Mater Dei, he finally ‘found his nitch.’”
“The faculty and staff have been helpful not only to my child, but to me as well.”
(Comments were provided on the “Survey for Parents of Freshmen: 2013-2014,” which was conducted in January, 2014.)