SAN MIGUEL SCHOOL OF PROVIDENCE
THIRTY YEARS OF TEACHING MINDS AND TOUCHING HEARTS
by Mel Bride, Director of Advancement
Who knew thirty years ago that the idea for a unique Lasallian middle school for boys from the worst economic situations in Providence would be thriving all these years later, and as relevant and necessary now as it was then? Founder, Br. Lawrence Goyette, FSC, will be the first to tell you that he is as surprised as anyone that the school survived those first few challenging years, and would give more credit to faith and God’s providence than he would to himself for bringing this vision to life. But that he did, and the school has served as a model to many other schools nationwide.
San Miguel currently serves sixty-four boys in grades five through eight and boasts more than four hundred graduates. Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors, the school recently completed an ambitious $6,000,000 campaign that provided for significant investments in infrastructure, programming, and endowment. Recent additions of a social worker and a part-time learning specialist could not have been more timely, given the challenges presented by the pandemic. A brand-new STEAM Center will enable us to bring back our robotics program and inspire students to explore learning through virtual reality, video creation, and hands-on programs in science and art.
A sense of belonging in schools is now more important than ever. Br. Lawrence knew that belonging was important thirty years ago. That’s why he kept the school small, and emphasized community-building through daily assemblies, trusting teacher- student relationships, high expectations of behavior, and respect for others. He also believed in the power of soft skills, such as a strong handshake and eye contact. Life skills like this can open doors that may be closed for students living with economic or family challenges. These pillars of this proven school model remain in practice today at San Miguel Providence.
In addition, however, new programs have been added in response to a world that has changed significantly since 1993. Financial literacy, summer reading, and swim lessons have become part of our program, as have new athletic options like flag football and rowing. Our Graduate Support Program has expanded to offer more services for graduates and families as they navigate the college admission, financial aid, and transition processes. Smart phones are not allowed in school and guidance counselors educate the boys frequently on proper and improper use of technology and social media. An intentional focus on mental health has been well-received and has had a very positive impact on the boys and the community.
Our Lasallian roots serve as the foundation of our values and faith-based educational program. Boys share intentions daily in assembly, praying for friends and family who need support; students participate in community service programs and our annual twinning fundraiser for schools in Africa; and many of our graduates move on to local Catholic high schools where their faith-based education continues.
At San Miguel, we take to heart De La Salle’s instruction to, “Take even more care of the education of the young people entrusted to you than if they were the child of a king.”