Each week, the Bruynzeel-Simpson family goes horseback riding at a local farm. It’s something parents Peter and Kristi learned to do recently, after daughter Jamie started taking lessons. For a family that deeply values opportunities to learn, the experience has been very rewarding.
Their appreciation for learning and service is also evident in their yearly contributions to the St. Michaels University School Annual Fund. Since Jamie started kindergarten three years ago, Kristi and Peter have contributed at the Patron and Headmaster’s Circle levels and directed their gift toward financial aid.
“Our family has been very fortunate,” says Kristi, “and we have an obligation to give back.” Donating to support financial aid speaks to her strong belief that “everyone should have a chance to experience the great things this school has to offer, not just the ones who can afford it.”
In the 2007-2008 school year, 102 SMUS students (11% of our total student population) received financial assistance. There was a marked increase from the previous year in the number of families receiving assistance for the first time. This increase reflects a more concerted effort by the school to attract and support students from a diverse socio-economic background.
“Financial assistance is a critical tool for creating diversity in our student population,” says Director of Admissions Sue Saunders. “There are many students who are making incredible contributions to the life of the school who wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for financial assistance.”
It was this commitment to diversity – along with the school’s focus on community service – that led Kristi and Peter to choose St. Michaels University School for their daughter. Now in Grade 2, Jamie is learning about the importance of giving by donating a portion of her allowance to the World Wildlife Fund, a cause that Jamie has supported since she became involved with horses.
Although Jamie’s allowance donation isn’t large, her mother Kristi believes strongly that all contributions have the power to make a difference – even in the case of the SMUS Annual Fund. “If everyone in the school community contributes it adds up to a significant amount,” she says, “and it means that more people will have the opportunity to benefit from the kind of education the school provides.”