I realized God had spoken to me during those shadow visits that led me here, and once more in that Mass telling me, “You did it! You have found your forever home.”

By Adeline McIntire, Class of 2021

It was April 26th, and it was an all-school Mass. I was sitting four rows from the seniors in the chapel. During the Mass, I got to see the faces of seniors while they experienced their last all-school Mass. During the Mass, I experienced something I didn’t expect —Sadness. I was thinking,

“I am really going to hate leaving this school.”

And at that moment I knew I had made the decision of a lifetime.

So let’s begin…

Our family likes the small-town atmosphere. I enjoyed the public school I attended in Gardner. Then my mom started teaching at Holy Trinity in Paola. So we moved, and in fourth grade, I started a private school where my mom worked. Quite nervous and inexperienced, the concept of going to Mass at school, let alone weekly, was mind-blowing. The people and community surrounding this school were influential. It was the best three school years of my life. My graduating class of six students would move on to be the smallest in school history to date. Plus, I was the only girl in the entire grade! Everyone I met would ask if being the only girl was awful, but being completely honest with you, they were brothers to me. We were one “big” happy family. To this day, I long to go back to my years of Holy Trinity. I mean, come on, the homemade lunches were to die for! Tacos, enchiladas, hamburgers, and cinnamon rolls! Man, those were the days.

To follow the glorious years at Holy Trinity, it just went downhill from there. Going into public high school was scarier than it should have been. I knew a lot of girls from sports during my middle school seasons, but not enough to be friends. I made a few friends, but most were just there for the show; and not for the long haul.

I grew up with this amazing dream that my high school years would be just like my mom’s; a student body that was like one big, happy family. However, in September of my sophomore year, the small town school setting lost its vibe, and I realized I needed to leave. What was it that I was missing? It was the community that I needed the most. I needed to be back in an environment that felt like home. St. James Academy was the home I needed. And deciding to attend St. James Academy was a funny story in itself. To put it shortly, I just knew I wasn’t going to attend St. James because I couldn’t stand going around all those round-a-bouts in the front of the school. Go figure, right?

My shadow day had finally arrived; I was nervous but open-minded. Looking for a school that made me feel like I did at Holy Trinity was going to be challenging. The weight of my family ‘legacy’ on my shoulders. My decision would determine where my three younger siblings would go to school! Long story short, I had a fantastic Shadow Day with my student-shadow, Jenna Bozich. All through the halls kids would come up to me and introduce themselves, hoping I’d come to their school. It felt so homie and welcoming. But I had to keep an open mind as I was also shadowing another school the next day, and had friends at that school… But once that shadow day started, it only took 30 minutes before realizing it wasn’t the school for me. I spent the rest of the day imagining going to school at St. James. You know that feeling you get when the little voice in your head tells you what to do? Well, my voice was screaming, “St. James!” I had never felt so strongly about a decision. As soon as the shadow day was over, I raced to the car to tell my Mom.

The rest of the semester couldn’t go any slower. The gruesome weeks went by, but the light at the end of the tunnel grew brighter each passing week. It started to take a toll; I had chosen to keep the news about my transfer away from everyone at school. But it hurt, telling my friends about next semester excitements knowing I wouldn’t even be there.

It was now Christmas break, and that meant St. James was approaching! I attended the Open House, and I was excited to be part of my new community. I was able to join the basketball team and started practicing throughout the break. When school started, basketball made adjusting so much easier. Walking into my first day, people knew me. I was shocked when some even remembered me from when I shadowed, checked in on me, and asked how my first day was going. I couldn’t imagine a better first day! It only got better from there. I found friends quicker than expected, connections with teachers, and a better relationship with God. The transfer club was a tremendous help. Most of my friends now are other transfers from the semester before.

Four months have passed, and I’m sitting in the senior’s last all-school Mass about to cry because I knew at that moment that I had found my home. I realized God had spoken to me during those shadow visits that led me here, and once more in that Mass telling me, “You did it! You have found your forever home.” Who knew? The school with too many roundabouts would be the drive I’d love every single day.

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