Cape student excels in home-school program;
gives graduation address, moves on to Catholic college


By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor
davejolivet@anchornews.org

SANDWICH, Mass. — It’s not often when students travel more than 500 miles from where they studied to attend their own high school graduation ceremony. But it does happen.

maria_miller

Maria Miller, daughter of Dolores and Charles Miller, all parishioners of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich, recently made such a journey — from their Cape Cod home to Front Royal, Va., where Maria graduated after successfully completing the Seton Home Study School program, of which she and her family have been a part since she was in kindergarten.

The Seton Home Study School program is an offshoot of Seton Junior and Senior High School which was founded by Dr. Anne Carroll in Manassas, Va. in 1975.

The Catholic school was an answer to the request of many parents who wanted to be a part of their children’s education process.

People from other parts of the country began to send their children to Manassas and Carroll realized that many folks had difficulty with the separation from their children and couldn’t afford the room and board expenses.

Carroll founded the Seton Home Study School in 1980, and in 1985 Dr. Mary Kay Clark took over as director and moved the fledgling home study division to Front Royal.

Since then, students from all over the world have been a part of the Seton family, which provided guidelines, materials and curricula to parents and their children that they may have a hand and a say in the way their children are educated.

“I’ve been involved with Seton since Maria was in kindergarten,” Dolores told The Anchor. “I learned about it from my sister who home-schooled her children.”

Maria just graduated from high school and the Millers have another daughter, Christina, in fifth-grade in the Seton program.

“It’s been awesome,” Dolores continued. “It’s a very Catholic program and a very classical eduction Seton provides.”

Seton offers parents and students textbooks that “are all about our faith,” said Dolores. “In usual school textbooks where there are illustrations, the Seton books incorporate Catholic images,” which enhance the Faith Formation process in the students.

Throughout the home-schooling process, Seton offers parents the opportunity to correct all or some of their child’s lessons. “We chose to correct some and have the school correct some,” Dolores told The Anchor. “We like to keep the Seton staff involved in the process.”

After all was said and done, Maria maintained a remarkable 3.97 Grade Point Average.

“Seton asks a lot of the students and gives a lot of work,” said Dolores. “There are times when some of that work is completed in the summer, but we and the school find it necessary to give the students time off and we can choose when that happens.”

Dolores lauded the quality of the curriculum and the great Catholic presence in the materials. That presence obviously rubbed off on Maria, who in addition to maintaining her high GPA and graduating, also was a St. Pius X Award recipient this year.

“Seton Home Study School was the best thing my parents ever did for my sister and me. Through their choice to home-school my sister and me, they chose to educate us with a beautiful curriculum (though a challenging one),” Maria told The Anchor. “We didn’t just learn the square root of four or how to write a paragraph. We learned these things and everything else from the point of truth. We learned to be Catholic, practice our faith (home-schooling allows great opportunity to go to daily Mass and so forth), and why we are Catholic.”

Shortly before graduation, Seton contacted the nearly 800 graduating students and asked them, if they chose, to write an essay and two students would be chosen to read their essay at the ceremony in Front Royal.

“Maria knew what she wanted to write, and shortly before the deadline she submitted it,” Dolores told The Anchor. “She was one of the two who were selected. Yet she was very humble about it, as usual, but she said she would do it.”

“We have all succeeded in the training Seton Home Study School has provided for us,” Maria told her fellow graduates, parents and Seton staff. “We have been taught truth in all forms. We have been taught what is noble and good. We have been instructed in the matters of the Church and have been trained to be Spiritual warriors. Now is our time to fight for what we believe to be true and what we hold as our own. We have been taught. Now, it is the time to practice what we have been taught. We must take up our adventure. Most importantly, we must take up our cross and do all for the glory of God.

“We must fight for the ultimate good, the truth, for the greater glory of God. We must be witnesses. We are the future of the Church. We must listen to our personal call from Christ. We must be filled with courage. There will always be temptations and distractions. These will not go away; but, we can learn to discipline ourselves and choose to keep our eyes on Christ. We must always pray the words inscribed on the bottom of the Divine Mercy image. These words are ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’ He bore so much for us, we ought to be able to bear so much for Him. He has promised us He will not ask too much of us. 

“Of course, fighting must be done with love, not primarily for our own good, or it is almost useless. We must be the St. Thereses, the. St. Josephs, the St. Elizabeth Ann Setons and Mother Teresas of our day. Everything we do, we must do, first, out of love for God and then out of love for others. Our lives must be a loving fight. We may not be called to be hermits or fight in the Crusades; but, we can bear the daily drudgeries for the pleasure of God. We can make little sacrifices of self for God and for others.”

She finished by saying, “Let us go, taking the fruits of our Seton education,  and put into practice all we have learned and all we have loved. It is time to give ourselves over to God’s Will and let Him completely govern our lives whether He is calling us to the single, married, or religious life. It is time to be the light to others. Let us be brave and merciful as we take on the mission God has given us.”

Maria will be off to Northeast Catholic College in Warner, N.H. in the fall. “Maria wanted to carry on her Catholic education, and we gave some thought to where she would apply,” said Dolores. “We considered Steubenville, but we went to an open house at Northeast Catholic and she felt right at home right away. She didn’t apply to any other school.

“It’s a small, intimate school with about 200 students, about two-thirds of which were home-schooled.

“Maria will be majoring in English, all the while discerning what future God has for her.”

“I feel prepared for the world as I am now going off to college. I feel that I understand Catholicism, its importance, and how to be disciplined in my studies,” said Maria. “Now, I am going to go out to the world and, God willing, I will win some battles for Him and His bride, the Church.”

For more information on the Seton Home Study School program, visit at setonhome.org, or call Dolores Miller at 508-833-6545.


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