After putting their first two children through public school, Paul and Sue Mazza moved to Centre Hall and gave their third child, Joshua, the option of attending either Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy or the Penns Valley Area High School.
“Josh went and shadowed for a day at Penns Valley and said that he didn’t like it. He went to SJCA, and he really liked it,” said Sue of her son who was in eleventh grade at the time and graduated from SJCA in 2016. “It was like night and day for him. He was always a good student, but he kind of flew under the radar. When he got to SJCA, I remember him coming home the first day and saying, ‘Mom, everybody knows my name!’ It was really good for him—actually, it was awesome for him.”
Seeing the positive impact SJCA had on their son, Paul and Sue knew it was where they wanted their daughters Madison, 14, and Sera, 17, to receive their high school education as well.
“Once we got there, we never looked back! It has been awesome experience,” said Sue. “It’s been wonderful at prepping them for college, prepping them for leadership and for service. What I like most about SJCA is the smaller size; they can’t slip through the cracks. I really appreciate the smaller environment, and the teachers are amazing. I can’t say enough about those teachers!”
While the Mazzas are not Catholic, as Christians they appreciate the strong values SJCA instills in their children.
“Being that Christ is valued most of all has been important,” said Sue. “If you ask my husband, his big reason for sending the kids to SJCA was because of the moral and ethical values of the school.”
Today, Sera is a senior at SJCA, while Madison is just beginning her freshman year. Both sisters are involved in the school’s service club, Sera runs track and cross-country and Madison is a member of the volleyball team.
“Being on the sports teams that’s an incredible thing,” said Sue. “Madi absolutely loves the volleyball team; It’s been a great experience for her. SJCA as a whole has been a really good overall experience.”
Q&A with the Mazza Sisters
Q: What do you like most about attending Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy?
Madison: I love seeing my friends every day and being able to interact with them. I also love going to sports practice every day; I look forward to seeing my team and practicing with them.
Sera: I like the small class sizes and the community atmosphere. The students are able to have one-on-one relationships with the teachers because everyone is so personable. I have had a lot of fun getting to know people in my last four years of attending SJCA, and I hope that when I graduate I will keep in touch with most of the friends I made during my time here.
Q: What does getting a Catholic education mean to you?
Madison: I’m not actually Catholic, but I think getting a Catholic education opens my mind up to things that I would not see or find in a regular education.
Sera: I am not Catholic, but it is very nice to go to a Christian school knowing that I am getting a good education but not losing touch with my faith along the way.
Q: What activities do you participate in?
Madison: I am a member of the service club, I play volleyball and I ride horses. I will also be participating in the school play when the time comes.
Sera: I am on the cross-country and track and field teams. I also participate in service club during school, and I am a member of the National Honors Society.
Q: What are your future aspirations?
Madison: I want to do something with the law, and I’ve always wanted to do something with animals.
Sera: I am hoping to go to college to study some form of criminal justice or criminology, and then I will have to see where life takes me after that.
Q: What advice do you have for future Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy students?
Madison: I’ve only been going to Saint Joe’s for a couple months, but I would suggest playing volleyball and participating in all of the school activities because you are missing out on a lot if you don’t. Also, just have fun because you are not always going to have good days. When you have bad days, just make the best out of them, because you only have four years, which may seem super long, but time does fly.
Sera: My advice would be: don’t wait until senior year to have fun. Be respectful and kind, but always try to stay positive and make everything fun. Contrary to what some may think in the beginning, high school goes by fast, so live it up while you can. Make friends and make memories!