In honor of Catholic Schools Week, the National Catholic Reporter spoke on the importance of Catholic education and all its benefits. Out of Trenton, NJ the Briant Family, which includes, Alison Briant Burley, Ellen Briant Reilly, Susan, and Katelyn Briant have all credited their own Catholic education in becoming Catholic school teachers.
Their parents, Doris and Thomas Briant, both products of Catholic education, made sure their children all had 12 years of Catholic education, despite the prospect of all that tuition. "My motivation was to show (our) commitment to Catholic education," Doris said, in spite of the financial hardships.
Crediting those that influenced the family, Tom and Doris praised two people in particular for having a good influence on their daughters: the late Sr. Juliana Naulty, a Dominican Sister of Hope who was principal of St. Joseph School in Toms River, and the late Fr. William P. Gardner, parochial vicar at their parish, St. Joseph.
"Sister Juliana demonstrated to all the girls that being a Catholic educator went beyond the classroom walls," Doris said. "She celebrated with them in their victories and supported them when they were down, (and) she knew the best way to help her students was to help their families. All four were honored to have known her."
Alison Briant Burley said that it was a wonderful opportunity to attend Catholic school and hoped that she could give her children the same experience she was given--an education of the whole person. "I want them to be encouraged and empowered to be their best selves by nurturing their faith and their minds at the same time."
Ellen Briant Reilly began her teaching career in the second-grade classroom at St. Aloysius School in Jackson. She now teaches at St. Joseph School.
Susan Briant has taught the fifth-graders at St. Dominic School in Brick for four years. S
Katelyn Briant a first-year teacher of Spanish at St. Paul School in Princeton.
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