The Kaemmerer Family – Exploring Options, Finding the Best “Fit”
The Kaemmerer family lives in a highly rated school district and always thought they would send their son, Justin, to the public high school. As their son was entering eighth grade (at St. Teresa), they began to consider Althoff Catholic as an option. As is the case in many important decisions people make, the Kaemmerer family talked with others hoping to gather helpful information. To their surprise, a few people they talked to shared the opinion that Althoff Catholic does not have much to offer to students. “When I asked what they meant by that, the people I was conversing with could not give me an answer,” said Janet. “I began to wonder, why can’t people answer that question? What were they looking for in a high school? What should we be looking for?” Janet, along with her husband, Jeff, began to discuss what they wanted for Justin’s future. They pondered what they could do to best set him up on a path toward success. The Kaemmerers considered all of their options. They reflected on the richness of their son’s Catholic grade school experience and wanted to keep a good thing going by sending him to Catholic high school.
In October of Justin’s eighth grade year, the family attended Althoff Catholic’s Open House. “It was the best two hours we could have spent gathering information,” said Janet. “We were able to talk to faculty members and counselors. We appreciated that Justin’s counselor would be meeting with him one-on-one within the first quarter and throughout the school year. We learned what Althoff offers as far as classes, college entry, and scholarships, as well as extracurricular activities and sports.” The family also experienced a guided tour of the school with a Student Ambassador. Janet recalls being told several times that afternoon, “We would love to have you as part of the Althoff Catholic family.” The Kaemmerers felt those words were spoken with meaning. This experience began to solidify their plans to choose Althoff Catholic. “Tuition was something to really consider,” said Janet. “However, after having had our children in day care and Catholic grade school, we considered tuition as part of our everyday budget – it was no different than the electric bill, water bill, and mortgage. In our hearts and minds, we really felt Althoff Catholic was a better fit academically and spiritually.”
While college may seem far off to incoming freshmen, Janet has been very impressed with Althoff Catholic’s college preparation process. “Counselors are talking to the kids about college from the first few weeks of freshman year and students are able to earn up to 25 college credits before graduation through the SLU 1-8-1-8 program. I would encourage everyone to look at Althoff Catholic’s website to learn more about their college matriculation, ACT scores and the amount of money students are offered in college scholarships.”
The Kaemmerers are proud to be part of the Althoff Catholic family, and we are delighted to have them! “We have seen Althoff Catholic faculty and staff in public, away from school. While our names may not always be remembered, we are recognized and greeted. During Justin’s freshman year, Mr. Harris took a few minutes at a football game just to ask how things were going for him. That meant a lot to us.”
The Kaemmerer’s main goal for Justin is that he grows in his faith and achieves his personal best. “With the smaller classes, the teachers really get to know the students. Justin’s counselor meets with him, and it is obvious that Althoff Catholic is invested in his success.”
“Our experience with Althoff Catholic has been very positive, and we could not be happier with our decision. We are so glad we took the time to check it out for ourselves,” said Janet.
Mia ’20 – Mom’s Alma Mater or Dad’s?
Mia’s family has a strong legacy both at Althoff Catholic High School and at an all-girls Catholic high school in St. Louis. “In my mind, I always thought I would go to Althoff Catholic,” said Mia. “When my mom took a job at her alma mater, we considered that as an option, too. I play volleyball and had participated in camps at both schools. The girls in Althoff’s program were very welcoming and they knew my name. Althoff Catholic felt like home.” Mia is very happy she chose Althoff Catholic. She takes all honors classes and enjoys the drop schedule and how it is helping her to learn important time management skills. “I have three siblings, and my parents are very busy. I feel like if I went to school in St. Louis I would miss out on things with friends and it would be harder to be involved,” said Mia.
Michael ’20 – Prestige of St. Louis School or Comfort of “Home”
“My brother is a doctor, my sister has her Master’s degree and may soon go back for a Ph.D. My former babysitter is now an attorney. There are a lot of very successful people in my neighborhood. All of these people have one thing in common, they went to Althoff Catholic,” said Michael. As an actor, dancer and singer, Michael spends a lot of time in St. Louis at COCA and The Muny. “I perform with a lot of people from St. Louis, who attend an all boys school over there,” said Michael. “Althoff Catholic was always in the back of my mind, but I decided to look into this school, too.” Michael was very impressed with the all boys school in St. Louis. He appreciated the brotherhood they seemed to share and the ideals they fostered among their students. “The school was really impressive and it wowed me in a lot of ways,” said Michael. “It is in a really cool part of St. Louis, near the Science Center. The big difference between this school in St. Louis and Althoff Catholic was the friendliness and welcoming nature of the teachers and the students. I remember going to Althoff’s Open House and being greeted by name by so many of the teachers. One of the teachers even remembered that I was in the NICU at Cardinal Glennon as a baby. Althoff Catholic is a family and definitely felt like home.” Michael is in the honors program at Althoff Catholic and is very happy with his teachers and the assistance they provide. As someone who is very involved in the performing arts, Michael sometimes travels during school time and appreciates that Althoff Catholic is an iPad campus and he is able to stay caught up with his school work and in touch with his
Elise ‘19 – From Chicago to the Metro East
Elise moved to the Metro East from the Chicago area for her father’s new job. The family considered a total of four schools before deciding on Althoff Catholic. “We didn’t have a lot of time to visit schools, so we relied on the information online to learn more about our options,” said Elise. “My brother, Alex (Class of 2018) and I liked what we saw about Althoff Catholic online so we decided to visit.” After their visit, the family felt confident that the small school environment would allow for more one-on-one attention from teachers.
“The thing I like best about Althoff Catholic is the friendly environment. At my old school there were more cliques and groups did not mix. It was harder to make friends. Althoff Catholic is not like that. By the end of my first week, I felt like I fit in and had already made great friends.”
Jack ‘18 – From St. Louis Single-Sex School to Althoff Catholic
Jack attended grade school at St. Teresa in Belleville. Following in the footsteps of his older sister, he decided a single-sex school in St. Louis would be the best fit for him. Jack enjoyed his classes and the school as a whole. At the beginning of his sophomore year, having to wake up early and having a 35 minute commute to school began to wear on him. “I was tired,” said Jack. “It is not easy to get involved in extracurricular activities or to get together with friends when you live so far way from your school.” A lot of Jack’s friends from St. Teresa were at Althoff Catholic, so he felt a sense of belonging almost immediately. “I love the smaller school atmosphere. The teachers and students are very friendly,” said Jack.