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by Maddie Jones, MDS Junior & Ardmore Scholar

Cavalier Ambassadors volunteer at Catholic Schools Night, providing fun activities for Catholic school children from our feeder schools.

The Cavalier Ambassador program is one of my favorite student leadership opportunities at Mount de Sales. With the guidance of our admissions director, I give campus tours to prospective families. On nearly every tour I lead, I am asked the same question: What makes MDS special? When first approached with this question, a multitude of answers came to mind. The dedication and compassion of faculty members, the diversity of the student body, and the swell of pride surrounding any school event. I knew that there was only one word that would describe the energy of MDS to these families: community.

Each current student, newly enrolled family, parent, teacher, staff member, alum, and administrator contributes to the atmosphere of the school. This is something that has become increasingly obvious during my three years here. From the day I shadowed as a nervous seventh grader, I have always been welcomed with open arms. At MDS, you are not simply attending school; you are becoming a part of something bigger than yourself. I am constantly growing and broadening my horizons with every opportunity offered here. On my first day at MDS, I was thirteen and beginning eighth grade. I knew one student at the school when I was dropped off that morning. By the end of the day, I had been invited to join the cross country team by a group of girls who would later become my close friends. I had never run before, but every coach and teammate encouraged me from my first practice to my last race. I am now firmly committed to the marching band every fall, but that one cross country season was integral to my transition into MDS.

Although my eighth grade year was cut short by COVID-19, I relished every pep rally and played stand tunes at the homecoming game. Even in middle school, spirit and pride for the school are contagious. Freshman year brought all the usual nerves of high school, but because I felt so incredibly comfortable, I continued to search for new ways to contribute to the MDS community. I cannot properly express how important extracurriculars are to the school environment. Every student is involved in something, and every activity is valued. Sports, fine arts, technological studies, academic competitions, and honor societies are all active on campus.

I have been involved in the band program for my entire MDS career, and it has provided me with opportunities I treasure. I have played French horn with our brass quintet in Mass, attended district honor band, and have taken on the role of drum major for the 2022 marching season. At MDS, I am not only encouraged to get involved, but also given the opportunity to go above and beyond in every area of my life.

The sense of community here does not leave after graduation. This past spring, I volunteered to assist with a donor luncheon hosted by the school. At this event, alumni and parents of both current and former students spoke about their experiences with MDS. Seeing the ways that the school has touched them even after years of being off-campus stuck with me. Our community spans generations. The morals instilled in students are universal, no matter one’s faith. Although it is a Catholic school, students of all faiths are welcome and learn how to live a morally sound life. Respect mutually flows among everyone on campus.

Every teacher genuinely cares about their students, both academically and personally. The school is rooted in strong values and has grown into a thriving and diverse community of learners. They are accessible to students by email and in person during the school day. If a student is struggling with a concept, there is always help available. While it is quite a different feeling than the electricity of a football game, getting tutoring from a teacher is another reinforcement of that same sense of community.

Even with so many opportunities outside of the classroom, MDS is committed to education. Every teacher is unique, and every class provides a different perspective on the learning process. The teaching community at the school is vibrant. From first-year teachers to retired college professors, every educator at Mount de Sales is passionate about what they teach.

All aspects of campus life are intertwined, connecting every member of the Mount de Sales community. The camaraderie of sports teams, the beauty of fine arts, and the tradition of theology all make MDS special. No matter what students are involved in, they are appreciated. I have developed as a person during my time at Mount de Sales, both intellectually and emotionally. I would like to encourage all members of the MDS community, current, former, or prospective, to recognize your vital role and cherish it.