When I tell people I am principal of O’Connell College Preparatory School, a private Catholic school, I often receive reactions that, frankly, surprise me.

Some say they would never choose a private school for their children’s education.

When I ask why they feel that way, I get some pretty interesting answers. For instance, I often hear that private schools are only for elite, wealthier white families. Others say they are afraid the school will try to convert their child to Catholicism.

Others feel small schools cannot offer the same level of academic excellence found in public schools. In addition, many feel their children who play sports will not get the recognition to propel them into college sports.

These are all myths which I would like to dispel. I understand that private schools may not be the right setting for every child, but I firmly believe they are the right setting for many students.

Busting Myths

At O’Connell, we have more students classified as nonwhite than we do classified as Caucasian, and 45 percent of our students qualify for financial aid. Because of those stats, it’s hard to classify the school as elite, wealthy or predominately white.

We are a Catholic school, and our students attend Mass and take theology classes. However, students don’t have to be Catholic. Actually, just more than half of our students are from the Catholic faith, while the rest belong to other Protestant denominations.

In terms of academics, we have a highly qualified faculty, with the majority having 20-plus years of experience. Many hold advanced degrees, and we even have a Fulbright Scholar. We offer 20 hours of dual-college credit courses through Galveston College and 30 hours of AP courses in which students can earn college credit.

In the past four years, 127 graduates of O’Connell have earned more than $4 million dollars in grants and scholarships. Our students go on to universities in Texas such as the University of Texas, Texas A&M, North Texas State, Austin College, Southern Methodist University, Baylor, Texas Christian University and Texas Tech. Other students attend out of state schools like Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU and Syracuse.

O’Connell students also earn sports scholarships, such as football scholarships to Trinity and HPU, and softball scholarships to Austin College and Kansas University.

Why O’Connell?

The benefits of attending O’Connell are many. We offer a small, family oriented environment and specialize in educating the whole child — mind, body and spirit.

Our student to teacher ratio is 10-to-1 this year. We strive to teach our students to have confidence in themselves and their own individual abilities. We find what makes them tick and help them soar.

We want our students to leave us feeling confident in themselves and to believe that they can accomplish great things. This is why our graduates are so successful and tell us regularly that O’Connell prepared them for the rigors of college.

Come visit us and see the great things that are going on here at O’Connell.

Patti Abbott is the principal at O’Connell College Preparatory School in Galveston.

Patti Abbott is the principal at O’Connell College Preparatory School in Galveston.

(17) comments

Walter Manuel

"Our student to teacher ratio is 10-to-1 this year".

Wow! That right there would certainly be one thing that I would heavily consider these days if I had a child in school seeing how the bar for standards have been raised to the next level by the state and feds for school districts.

Private schools do in fact offer all of the same benefits offered by the public and charter education system. [thumbup]

Lars Faltskog

Private, religious schools cannot be appropriate for free-thinking individuals and their children. If one has at least a periferal belief in the Trinity and the belief in a sentence to damnation to hell if one does not adhere to the tenets of the religiosity, then a child can also be indoctinated into the school.

Since much of the world is not Christian, then religious, private schools are not an option. Too many of us still have visions of Sister Marie staring down Bernadette in "Song of Bernadette, and admonishing her for giving wrong responses in the classroom. My oldest brother got hand slapped with a ruler by a nun teacher. By that time, my mom got smart enough to place the rest of us siblings in public school.


Ahhhhh yes "indoctrination!" This of coarse is Satan's favorite weapon of choice! To get someone to believe his lies without questioning them,...without measuring the consequences or repercussions of the fruit which will sprout forth from taking actions performing them!
This is exactly what happened to that individual who was involved with THAT FAKE BOMB situation at the Walmart in Kemah the other day! That voice he heard sissed and whispered to him, "Go on man, do it!" "Don't *&^* out on me nowwww!" "It will be fun,...and nobody will get hurt!"
If Satan finds someone so simple-minded and ill-prepared, to react to something like that, then the next assignment he gives THAT INDIVIDUAL will have more CALAMITY and CARNAGE involved in it! The Word of God states these are those Satan is on the hunt for,...these are the ones he is looking for! ( I Peter 5:8 ):
8) "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
Jesus told some people long ago.. ( John 10:10 ):
10) "The thief comes only to STEAL and KILL and DESTROY; I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the FULL." ( Meaning YOU!!!! )
Satan is the thief, Jesus was talking about and he is still at work, though he is now HANDICAPPED BY THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST,...HE CAN STILL USE, AND HE DOES USE,.... deceit,...deception,...and lies,....in order to persuade individuals to follow him and work/serve him!
Lastly,...I want to say this,...there is nothing NOBODY can do about what happened in the Garden of Eden. We were born into this world with the sin nature of Adam. However, what happened on the cross and IN the TOMB,...made all the difference in the world!
It gave us a choice to make,...to remain in status quo,....or to say enough of this cowboy crap,...I'm getting off this road, I'm going back to the fork, the junction, in order to enter at the strait gate,..and get on the RIGHT pathway of life!!!
Matthew 7:13-14:
13) “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." 14) "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
I am ( JBG ) one in HIS number of the few, who have been CALLED, and CHOSEN, to be a LABORER in HIS HARVEST,..... only because I made the decision long ago, to do what was necessary to prepare myself, by HIS measurements, in order to respond to HIS call! So I SHOWED UP,....READY to be chosen for the work of the HARVEST! If you understand that say AMEN! ( see, although many ( ALL ) actually individuals are CALLED, but only a FEW will choose to show up and actually BE CHOSEN! ).
Now, needless to say, I feel good this morning!!!! I said I feel good this morning!
Say Amen to that!!! Ohhhh I was active yesterday,...but that is another story. You got enough for today! We got to spread this stuff out see.

Gary Miller

The FAKE BOMBER turned out to be a white, racist, Democrat. A KKK member.


Second to the last paragraph! Should read:
see, although many ( ALL ) individuals are CALLED, but only a FEW will choose to show up and actually BE CHOSEN! )

Robert Buckner

Hey sverige1, at least these students aren't having to attend LaMarque schools!

Lars Faltskog

Response to Robert Buckner posted at 10:44 am on Mon, Apr 21, 2014:

Now, that's quite a choice, or should I ask, "Which is the lesser of 2 evils?"

Lars Faltskog

Response to Jbgood posted at 10:21 am on Mon, Apr 21, 2014:

As Bo would say on "Absolutely Fablulous" - "DEMON OUT!! DEMON OUT!!"

Miceal O'Laochdha

Dear Ms. Abbott,

I guess I understand why you think it wise to let the world know that the "misconceptions" you mention are not true. As you can see from some of the comments below however, there are those who not only have ludicrous ideas about the nature of Catholicism and Catholic education, but they are quite fervent about them. I would encourage their error, rather than correct it..

I was educated by the Sisters of St. Francis and the Jesuits. All members of my family for generations before me, as well, my own children, have been Catholic educated.

I would just as soon the rest of the world did NOT know how superior an education it provides. Like everything else in life, the influx of large numbers of people can only ruin it.

I would encourage you to hide you light under a bushel...
As to the student to teacher ratio, I suppose you are doing extraordinarily well. When I was in grade school it was approx. 55 students to 1 Nun. In prep school, it would have been perhaps 35-40 students to one Scholastic or Priest, depending on the subject. No harm came from those numbers.

Walter Manuel

Some people obviously watch way too much of their favorite old reruns on TV and appear to live by it perception whether it's factually real or simply imaginary in todays real world...

I agree with you Robert regarding LMISD and totally agree with Micael O'laochdha when it was posted that some things are best when kept a secret so that a large number of people don't ruin it for others!

And Mr. JBG, as usual you certainly have a way of leaning ALL THE WAY into your message when it's most appropriate to the situation that influences others like myself to have to repeatedly shout AMEN, AMEN AMEN! [wink]

Gary Miller

Which is your group?

Earlier this month two national polling companies released the results of a joint poll on BHO's honesty.
81 % said they believed BHO lied.
14 % sometimes. 16 % often, 51 % always.
Two thirds of the 19 % saying he never lied claim he couldn't because he's black.

Gary Miller

Catholic schools outnumber Muslim, Jewish and protestant schools.
Most private schools are secular and most religious schools provide a secular education.
As a group private schools share some features. Higher quality education for less money.

George Croix

Why choose a private school?
Typically better discipline
Typically better manners
Typically better learning environment
Typically better test scores for similar materials
Typically nothing at all like LMISD has become.

Lars Faltskog

Response to IHOG posted at 10:52 am on Wed, Apr 23, 2014,
Response to IHOG posted at 11:18 am on Wed, Apr 23, 2014:

First answer to your question - I would say I belong to the group who realizes that we're all human and whatever organization we run, we will make decisions we had wished we had made better.

Did BHO lie? Of course. We all lie at one time or another, and for different reasons, some valid, others not. But, the part of "forgiveness" allows us to come to an overall conclusion that we bring the ones we trust most closest to our side. Other folks, we put at a distance.

Regarding "forgiveness", that is a Christian tenet that I'm sure you share also, IHOG. Now, as for the faith that this fake bomber in Kemah had - I don't care one iota if he was Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Athiest/agnostic. I doubt if the folks holed up for 5 hours cared if he was a KKK'er or from Al Caida...or if he was simply a nutcase.

Interesting that TEK (or whichever his screenname is) is still concerned about the alleged faith of the Kemah fake bomber. Oh, well, Forrest Gump's mom said it best...but I won't repeat it here, being the Christian that I am.

Gary Miller

I get it Severige.
You don't care.
I'll put you in the 51% always lies group.
Most people don't always lie. We usually tell the truth unless the truth would harm others.
Obama lies to benefit himself.

Lars Faltskog

Well, IHOG...I suppose Obama will meet his Maker when he's on his deathbed. Now, regarding this thread - Obama sent his 2 daughters to private school. Maybe that schooling for them will help make them good people, and perhaps we can overcome the travesty of Mr. Obama's presidency as soon as possible.

Does that sound like I'm speaking your language? No matter how we feel about the control the government has on our lives, we can still choose individual happiness if we seek it. I really doubt a president will affect us on that premise, and in the long run, I doubt a public vs. private school background will make much of a difference....as long as wherever school setting we were once in, we persevere, give back, and make something of ourselves in return.

George Croix

IHOG, I've about decided that although POTUS tells a LOT of whoppers, demonstrably, documented, he is not actually lying by definition. To lie, one has to know or believe that what he is saying is untrue, but do so anyway.
I think the arrogant, incompetent, ideological narcissist actually believes his own press and the sound of his own voice in his head, and truly believes that anything he says is right, simply because he wants it to be.
Small comfort to those effected by the inevitable consequences of such mental illness.
That would be everybody who actually wants to pull their own weight and be prosperous...

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