After driving my dyslexic son home from elementary school while he sobbed each and every day that “he was stupid and dumb,” our family decided to tour Menaul School.
This was back in 2006 when the windows were broken, and weeds were growing everywhere. I listened to the tour guide, I spoke to current students, and as a former teacher, I quickly realized that the facility was not as important as what was happening inside the classroom.
My son’s first day of school at Menaul coincided with our new Head of School’s first day.
That man was Lindsey Gilbert. I dropped my 6th grader off for his first day of school and went home and cried. Was Menaul School a mistake? At 3:15, as I was heading onto the school grounds to pick up my son, Mr. Gilbert was standing at the Guardhouse with Reverend Buddy. I stopped and asked how the day went, Mr. Gilbert grinned from ear to ear and told me “It was a great day.” I then saw my son running toward the car. He opened the door, hopped it, and said “God, I love this school.” It was at that very moment I realized our family had found our educational niche at long last, and we never looked back.
My son had a rough few weeks at the beginning of sixth grade, but his teachers assured him it was going to be ok, and little by little they helped my son decode his dyslexia. The school bent over backwards for my son; making sure he could use a laptop and print from the school printer, making sure his assigned books were in a font he could decode, and making sure got extra help in math, where he excelled.
By 7th grade my son was regularly on the Honor Roll, and by high school, he was regularly on the President’s Honor Roll.
He became a very disciplined student because the expectations were high at Menaul School. Not only were the students expected to do their homework, they were expected to do it well. Because of small class sizes, the teachers knew. They knew when kids gave their all to homework, to class, and to special projects. Grades reflected those high expectations and were non-negotiable.
My son’s extra curricular activities were many and varied. He was a member of the football team, becoming Quarterback in his Sophomore year, as well as Chaplain Associate, a thriving potter, and a member of Student Council. He even traveled to Washington, DC to attend a Student Leadership Conference after a teacher recommendation. In my son’s Junior year, he was given a chance to become a member of a Triple A Hockey team in Dallas, Texas, as their starting Goaltender. He turned down the offer because he “loved his friends and his school, and just wanted to be a regular high school student.” I was simply amazed. My son loved hockey with all of his heart, but he loved Menaul School and the people even more.
In 2013 My son graduated from Menaul, and was the recipient of the Sea La Luz Award.
This is the highest honor a Menaul graduate can receive. He was confident, he was caring, he was kind, and he had turned into such a confident student, that he was accepted at several colleges. He ultimately chose The Citadel, but ended his undergraduate degree at UNM (Cum Laude.)
After deploying with the US Army for one year in Eastern Europe, my son returned home to Albuquerque where he is currently working towards a graduate degree in strategic operation planning and his MBA. He was also accepted at The University Of New Mexico Law School, but ultimately chose the MBA over law.
Menaul School changed our lives in ways we never realized back in 2006. They met every need and in most cases, exceeded the need. Menaul School helped my son develop his mind, his physical body, and perhaps most important, his heart. We are forever grateful!