Faith key to Mother Seton Academy success, president says

Resurrection Sister Cherree Ann Power


By Christina Leslie, Correspondent

The president and public face of Howell’s Mother Seton Academy believes the success of the venture will rest on faith.

“As we begin our journey at Mother Seton Academy, we need to let the world know what Catholic schools have to offer,” Resurrection Sister Cherree Ann Power said. “Sure, we have high standards, we help provide safe, loving Catholic community, we are positive and compassionate as we serve our students and guide them to be of service as well. But, Catholic education is one of the most important ways the Church is committed to the dignity of each person who comes through our school and building community. This is our hope as we come together from St. Aloysius [Jackson] and St Veronica [Howell] schools.”

Sister Cherree graduated from St. Joseph (now Donovan Catholic) High School, Toms River, and earned an associate’s degree in early childhood education from Maria College, Albany, N.Y. At Georgian Court College (now University), Lakewood, she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education with a reading specialist certification. Sister Cherree also earned a certification in school administration and supervision from Manhattan College, Riverdale, N.Y. This month she celebrated her 47th year as a religious sister.

The educator taught on the elementary school level for 15 years in the Archdiocese of Albany, and the Dioceses of Ogdensburg, N.Y., and Trenton. She led St. Francis School in Newburgh, N.Y., for two years and completed 27 years as principal of St. Veronica School before assuming the president role in Mother Seton Academy.

Sister Cherree reflected upon the value of Catholic education, saying, “In 2014, Pope Francis expressed his firm belief that parents should have the right to choose a ‘moral and religious education’ for their children. It is important that families and teachers guide students to critical thinking and a moral compass. A faith-based education is a blessing.

“We in Catholic education emphasize faith and helping our students develop a real relationship with God,” she continued. “It isn’t enough to simply believe that ‘God is Love,’ that God loves us; we need to help children understand that God loves me … me as an individual, and they need to learn to shout that Good News.”

In pursuit of that goal, Sister Cherree and the faculty of Mother Seton Academy plan to distribute packets of seeds to each student at the opening of the school year.

“We’ll tell them, ‘Faith plants the seed, love makes it grow,’” she said. “We’ll ask them to plant the seeds at home and watch them grow during the year. If we work together, we can grow together.”

Sister Cherree noted, “Catholic schools also emphasize academic rigor and self-discipline, challenge students to reach his or her God-given potential. We are committed to prepare our children to develop a strong spirituality so that they might become moral leaders for the future of our Church and our society.”

She concluded, “I have been blessed to be involved in Catholic education my entire life. I pray that all who come through our doors at Mother Seton will also become aware of those blessings.”

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