Guiding Students Through a Catholic College Admissions Process

Screenshot 2018-10-04 at 5.33.58 PM.png

Martin Saints Classical High School will be hosting a college night series, consisting of two nights full of information about discerning and applying for college. The plan for each evening is different, and they will complement each other. The series is designed with our MSC families in mind, so it is very important in particular that our 10th graders and their families attend. But the event is also open to the community - all are welcome! Anyone interested in the practicalities of the college admissions process, and how to do it in a Catholic way, will find it helpful.

The first part in the series is on Monday, October 22 at 7pm. Mrs. Carol Sargeant, our college counselor, will give a talk entitled "Fortitude not Frenzy: Demystifying the College Admissions Process." Her talk will:

  • Outline the general sequence and steps of the college admissions process

  • Explain what admissions offices look for

  • Explain where to find information about financial aid

  • Explain her long term plan to work individually with students to help them think through their interests and what they want to get out of college

On November 5, we will conclude the two-part series with a panel discussion with representatives from a spectrum of campuses. The focus here is how to find faithful Catholic community at different types of colleges, so that our students can begin to discern what their lives might look like after they graduate from MSC and how they can find Catholic support as they step out into the wider world. 

The panelists are Fr Shaun Mahoney from the Temple Newman Center, Dr. Daniel Cheely from the history department and the Collegium Institute at Penn, Dr. Thomas Smith from the Honors Program at Villanova, and Miss Monica Clarke, a Regina Coeli teacher and recent graduate of Christendom College. Each will describe what Catholic life is like on their campus. They will take questions, and discussion will be encouraged.

Martin Saints is not a "feeder" for just one type of university. From the very beginning of the college application process, we want to establish a culture of discernment and openness. Whether a family discerns that their child's best fit is a public university, a private one, a Catholic university, or a Catholic liberal arts college, we want to hold open the possibility if you're wise and astute about it, faithful and fruitful Catholic life is possible at all of these places. Each place has its own potential and its own pitfall, its own strengths and challenges. 

Both evenings together are the foundation of the Martin Saints plan for college counseling. However, any Catholic family thinking about college, from any school, or anyone from the general public, is welcome to attend. We are eager to share what we know. Planning for college is a moment that requires both practical and spiritual skills. It's a moment to be in the world, but not of it. You are warmly invited to come see how we do this at Martin Saints!

Please come join us for this 2-part event!

Click here for the event flier

Listen to our radio spot for this event below:

From the deacon’s desk: why classical education matters

A colleague pointed out to me that our friend Rod Dreher quoted me today on his blog. Rod was making a theological point, explaining why clear thinking about sexuality is so important, and what is at stake in today's debates about human nature. In doing that, he mentioned briefly something that I wrote a few years ago. This is important stuff, worth reading carefully, to help understand what is happening in our world and in our Church today.

But here's what struck me afresh today: at much greater length, Rod also quoted another old friend, Michael Hanby. In theological circles, Dr. Hanby is an internationally famous professor, but here at Martin Saints, we know him as one of the leaders of St. Jerome Academy outside Washington DC. St. Jerome's is a sister classical school, and a leading light in the national renewal of classical education.

Today, Dreher, Hanby, and I were discussing human nature and sexuality. But on another day, the same group of friends could just as easily been talking about the excitement of classical education. It made me pause for a moment: how interesting that these writers, all of them interested in holiness and sexual morality, are also investing themselves personally in the revival of the classics. Why would this happen?

And after half a second, I realized: because it's the same battle. To put it mildly, not everything in today's culture (or in today's Church) is wholesome like it ought to be. Faithful Catholics need to say "no, thank you," to much that our culture takes for granted. We write about sexuality because we need to be discerning about what is changing in our world and why it matters. And we build classical schools, in part, to create oases of sanity in a culture that has, in many ways, lost its mind. We build classical schools in order to teach a true and faithful vision of human nature.

Whenever Catholics have to say "no" to something in life that would divert us from God's path, we should be clear that underneath the "no" is an even deeper "yes," a "yes" to a vision of beauty and truth. Our curriculum emphasizes the classics because through these great books, we can initiate our students into a tradition of wisdom, a tradition of discernment, so that here and now in the modern world, the students are free and able to live for what is good, true, and beautiful.

When a student graduates from a classical school - if we have helped our students learn the art of paying attention to the right things in the right way - then we believe our students will be better at prayer. If we have formed students who are receptive to goodness, truth and beauty, then we will have done all that we can to co-operate with grace. A Martin Saints graduate will be fully alive, equipped to embrace the faith for him or her self.

Prayer Walk to Bless Martin Saints Campus

 Jillian Buhl and Deacon Roberts lead the prayer walk

Jillian Buhl and Deacon Roberts lead the prayer walk


Friends of Martin Saints Classical sometimes ask: how can we help? How can we get involved? Here's one example: Jillian Buhl is a friend who leads many prayer ministries in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Last week she visited the Martin Saints campus. Along with Deacon Roberts and Martin Saints dad Jay Oberdorf, they walked the perimeter of our school, praying the rosary, litanies, and prayers of protection. Next they visited the classrooms and prayed over several faculty and administrators.

Wherever you may be reading this post, please include Martin Saints in your prayers. These are hard times in the wider Church, and we're lighting candles to fight the darkness. Please consider contacting Deacon Roberts to support Martin Saints practically, spiritually, or financially.

 Jillian Buhl with Martin Saints Algebra teacher, Keara Mooberry, and future Class of 2034 student!

Jillian Buhl with Martin Saints Algebra teacher, Keara Mooberry, and future Class of 2034 student!


Martin Saints will always need donors who believe in our mission and who want Martin Saints to flourish as an offering for the wider Church.

Celebrating Student Victories at Martin Saints Classical High School

Martin Saints tenth grader Elizabeth Buentello is having a good run, literally and figuratively. Last Saturday, she won a cross country race with the Ambler Olympic Club. The next day, she won first prize in the Jenkintown Festival of the Arts. Congratulations, Elizabeth, we are proud of you! Thank you, Mrs. Cipolla and other faculty, for the way you mentor and support our students.

 Elizabeth is pictured above alongside Mrs. Elena Cipolla, teacher of studio art at Martin Saints. Below, left: Martin Saints student submissions at the Festival; below, right: Elizabeth’s winning drawing.

Elizabeth is pictured above alongside Mrs. Elena Cipolla, teacher of studio art at Martin Saints. Below, left: Martin Saints student submissions at the Festival; below, right: Elizabeth’s winning drawing.


Martin Saints is a small school. Each student receives individual attention. But prospective families sometimes ask: what about extracurricular activities? It's true, we don't have a football stadium, or a million dollar arts center. But Elizabeth proves that it's very possible to have an active extracurricular life at Martin Saints. Other students are involved in opera, ballet, rugby, choirs, Boy Scouts, martial arts, and the Sea Cadets. We're proud of them all. Want to start a new club? Let's talk about that. Some of us have been brainstorming about drama, more camping, board games, and maybe a newspaper or international travel. It always takes gumption and volunteers, but we're keen to support good ideas and entrepreneurial spirits. At Martin Saints, teachers are intentional about keeping homework reasonable because we believe that teens need time for activities, leisure, and family dinner.

As we continue to support our students in living out our mission and motto, balanced extracurriculars fit right in and help our students to be fully alive!

At Martin Saints Classical High School, we celebrate a joyful faith and a pursuit of academic excellence. Applications are now being considered for 9th, 10th, and 11th graders for the 2019-2020 school year.

Second Annual Martin Saints Classical Canoe Trip

We just returned from our second annual Martin Saints first week of school camping and canoeing trip. Students and chaperones enjoyed wonderful weather, camaraderie, and the challenges of a week living outdoors. We continue this tradition partly with the intent of sharing nature and building friendships before classes begin. But mainly we do it because, as Catholics, we want to teach our students to live in the world sacramentally, confident that God speaks through creation.