Newsletter Winter 2020

February 18, 2020

Student Named Top Youth Volunteer in Vermont

Ashwil Bell, grade 6, was named one of Vermont’s top two youth volunteers of 2020 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As a State Honoree, Ashwil will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she will join the top honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2020.  Ashwil raised money to buy solar cookers for refugee families in Chad, designed and staffed a food concession stand for Special Olympics bowling events, and organized a campaign to promote awareness of the effects of plastic bags on the environment. “I have always been around individuals who contribute to the community,” said Ashwil, whose parents operate a school for kids with disabilities. “I recognized from an early age that it takes effort to make a difference.”

Congratulations to Ashwil!




Students visit Burlington City Arts

Burlington City Arts Welcomes MCS students

We love it when parents see an opportunity for our students and help make it possible. In this case, parent Heather Ferrell, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at Burlington City Arts (BCA), thought that the current exhibition at BCA would be an amazing and collaborative learning experience for our students, with many links to our curriculum. Heather brought the idea to administration and in January, Kindergarten through Grade 8 learned about religious and spiritual diversity by engaging in a See, Think, Do! program in conjunction with the Transcendent: Spirituality in Contemporary Art exhibit at BCA.

Students traveled — usually on foot – to BCA on Church Street and spent some time exploring the exhibit and its various expressions of spirituality. “It was a wonderful way to celebrate Catholic Schools Week by honoring and appreciating global religions along with our Catholic and Mercy identities,” said Jason Moore, Assistant Head of School of Spiritual, Religious and Community Life. Many thanks to Heather Ferrell, MCS parent, and who made this opportunity possible for our students. 


Art teacher M.C. Baker, Lauren McCabe (grade 8), French teacher Madame Hawes, and Elizabeth Curry (grade 7) (l-r)

VFLA Winners at Mater Christi

When language teachers collaborate with art teachers, wonderful things can happen. Two Mater Christi students were recently honored for winning a poster contest sponsored by the Vermont Foreign Language Association (VFLA). Elizabeth Curry, grade 7, claimed the first place prize and Lauren McCabe, grade 8, took the honors for the second place prize, both in the middle school division.

Every middle school student participated in this poster contest with french teacher Madame Hawes and art teacher Mrs.Baker, with true integration between subjects. There were rough drafts, conversations, debates, and ultimately really beautiful posters that came from the artists.  Posters were judged on visual impact, overall appeal, relevance to the theme, and originality. Kudos to the middle school students for their effort and creativity, and congratulations to our two winners!



Mercy Community Service

 Mercy Community Service, Mater Christi’s weekly community service team, is at the heart of who we are as a school community guided by the Mercy vision and charism.  Mercy Community Service is part of the “whole person” education offered at Mater Christi and Mercy Community Service provides a concrete way for our students to live out our core value of Compassion and Service.  Throughout this academic year, students, families, faculty, and staff have cooked meals at the Ronald McDonald House, and visited with our elders at Our Lady of Providence, St. Joseph’s Residential Care Home, and McAuley Square.  We collected coats and winter gear for COTS, donated 85 frozen turkeys to Joseph’s House and Feeding Chittenden, and our kindergarten and third grade students gleaned for the Vermont Foodbank last fall. Most recently, the popular after-school club traveled on February 10 to the Ronald McDonald House to prepare and serve dinner to the families staying there. We are grateful for the collaboration and support of the Mater Christi community.


Notes from the Coach – Winter Sports Update

The Mater Christi School winter athletics season is in its final weeks, and has seen many successes along the way. Our middle school girls basketball teams have set numerous records this year, including school records for most wins for both our A and B teams. Our girls will culminate their seasons with tournaments at Essex and Browns River middle schools. The middle school boys basketball teams are trying to live up to the state championship that last year’s squad captured; they have been up to the task so far, winning many close games against local powerhouse schools. In addition, the grade 3 and 4 girls team just wrapped up their season this past Saturday. They have shown so much improvement throughout the season, it’s sometimes hard to recognize them! Volleyball season opens in March with high stakes. Last year, Mater Christi won the state championship. Go Bulldogs!

Mr. Haskell would like to recognize and thank our parent coaches for putting in so much time this winter — many thanks to Heather Sheppard, Alex Jones, Jeff Laboissiere, Kris Koehne, Ernie Duncan, Kathleen O’Brien, Steve Grimm, Raquel Schwartz for supporting our student athletes in so many ways!


Gretchen Tarrant ‘09

Alumni Profile – Gretchen Tarrant ‘09

“My time at Mater Christi was as formative as it was enjoyable. Through my 8-year tenure, I found a community of teachers, coaches, and families that has continued to serve me well to this day. When I began high school and later college, I gained an entirely new respect for the rigor of my grade school education and how well it set me up for success. I have reaped the benefits of a community that both challenged and supported me, and I would wish nothing less for students just beginning their journeys.”

Gretchen Tarrant ‘09 is a Marketing Lead for Special Projects at  After graduating from Mater Christi and Rice, Gretchen matriculated at Yale where she majored in Political Science while playing both Varsity Ice Hockey and Lacrosse. Originally from Colchester, she currently lives in New York City. 




Videographer Danielle Hazelton films students at Ronald McDonald house for Mercy Community Service

How’s that photo shoot going?

You may have seen a videographer at events as we have been developing stacks of video content to use for marketing and branding. You can catch them on social media, but check out this snippet if you would like a preview of the next round!





It’s time to register – what are these fees again?

Around this time of year, we frequently receive questions from parents about fees involved in the application or registration process. As a registered 501 3c nonprofit, we manage to a net zero bottom line, so our fees and tuition represent the absolute minimum we need to operate the school. We are sensitive to the fact that as parents you have chosen a private school education for your child, and with that, comes expense. So we wanted to share what we charge and why.

The application fee covers the cost of the admissions process, the shadow day, and the internal assessment. The registration fee is a customary charge that covers the cost of registration, updating school administrative records, and basic school supplies. It also serves as a deposit for tuition.

Sometimes people ask about sibling discounts. Sibling discounts are usually seen at parish schools where tuition is heavily subsidized by the parish and the Diocese. Mater Christi is a not-for-profit school which is completely self-funded through tuition and fundraising. The operating expense and overhead for each child is the same, and as it is, our fees and tuition total only about 70 percent of the cost to educate a child, making a sibling discount impractical. 

The actual costs to educate a child at MCS are in excess of $13,000, most of which is the expense of teacher salaries. When Mater Christi was founded, the Sisters of Mercy served as teachers, and the cost of salaries was not a factor in the budget. Now it is, and part of our strategic plan is to work toward ensuring that our teachers are paid equitably for the work they do in the classroom.

Please remember to register by February 20 to reserve your child’s place!