Hello, I’m Michael McMahon, and I am thrilled to share my Seton experience with all of you.
I live in Front Royal, Virginia, hometown of Seton Home Study School. Later this month, I will turn nineteen. I have been a Seton student all my life, and every one of my six siblings has used the Seton program. In May of 2013, I had the great joy and honor of graduating from Seton. It was such a wonderful feeling to finish one chapter of my life and look forward to starting a new chapter when I attend Christendom College this fall.
Originally from Sheffield, Massachusetts, my family moved to Front Royal when I was three years old, primarily to be near Christendom and Seton Home Study School. Since then I have become what seems like a permanent fixture at the Seton building. I am, as some call me, a “child of Seton.”
Being called a “child of Seton” is no overstatement. Looking back over my life up to this point, I realize that I have distinct Seton memories for each year. After all, my dad has worked at Seton for nearly seventeen years. In fact, at one time or another, everyone in my family has worked for Seton Home Study School. My eldest brother, Jonathan, worked for the computer department. Each of my sisters, Jennifer, Christa, and Jess, have worked at Seton, and currently my friend and big brother, Joe, works in the video department. As for myself, I have been Seton’s lawn mower for the past four years. Even my younger brother, Tommy, has helped out at Seton functions. Needless to say, Seton and I have a long history together.
My earliest memories of Seton begin with celebrating my younger brother’s birthday in the Seton bookroom after my dad got off work. While Seton’s second grade books were where I learned reading and writing, the Seton parking lot was where I learned to ride my bike as a little boy. My family and I would spend many weekends at the Seton building because it was such a friendly atmosphere for us. When I was six or seven, I recall playing all sorts of games at Seton: hide-and-go-seek, cops-and-robbers, tag, or any other great game we could think of.
On weekends in the beautiful Virginia summer, my entire family would go to Seton, invite other homeschooled Seton families, and enjoy a wonderful night of companionship, root beer floats, s’mores, and a blazing bonfire as my dad burned the discarded wood pallets from the Seton warehouse. Each summer Seton would have an annual employee family picnic where all of us could enjoy hotdogs, hamburgers, volleyball, and swimming. I can remember looking forward to these picnics with great anticipation. However, summer was not the only time we spent at Seton.
During the winter, my entire family would decorate the Seton lunchroom for the annual Seton Christmas party. My dad would get the Christmas tree, and we would bring Christmas music and hot chocolate to spend an enjoyable night of Christmas preparations at Seton. In more recent years, I have worked for Seton at the I.H.M. conferences Seton attends nationwide. Yes, my Seton experience is in a class all its own, and I thank God for blessing me with it.
Of course, by now you may be thinking that I did nothing outside of Seton. However, I have done a number of things aside from hanging out at Seton and following the curriculum. In fact, the flexibility of Seton’s homeschooling curriculum has allowed me to enjoy many different activities. I am an avid basketball player and have played ball competitively for ten years. In grade school and through middle school, I was coached by none other than Deacon Mr. Eugene McGuirk, of Seton counseling. The past four years I played for my church’s team, the St. John the Baptist Saints. I also played three years of tackle football for the parish’s football team. Additionally, I have taken three years of piano and still enjoy playing it on my own. At my parish church I serve both the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass. I am also lucky enough to serve at the Human Life International Headquarters in Front Royal for Fr. Boquet, Fr. West, or Fr. Papa, as well as at the monastery of Dominican nuns in Linden, VA.
We stay busy in my family.
Another great pastime I enjoy with my family is Civil War reenacting. Each year my brothers and I don our authentic uniforms and pitch our tents for a two- or three-day campout, participating in large reenactment events, such as the Battles of Antietam, Bull Run, Cedar Creek, and Gettysburg. We are part of a company that portrays the famous 20th Maine Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. We were first introduced to this regiment by another Seton family that also enjoys reenacting. Reenacting is truly a thrilling historical experience. It is one thing to read about the great battles of the Civil War in Seton’s Christ and the Americas, but it is an entirely new feeling to stand on the hallowed grounds, firing black powder Enfield rifles, while confederate reenactors come hurtling towards you in a charge, spurred on by their rebel yell. It’s an exhilarating experience and a wonderful hobby to pursue, made all the better when pursued alongside other Seton families.
Living in the Shenandoah Valley, I am in the “bread basket of the Confederacy” and live very close to many great Civil War sites. In an hour’s drive I can be at Ford’s Theater or Bull Run or perhaps New Market. I am extremely blessed to live here and have these kinds of opportunities. As you can see, the blessings of being homeschooled never end.
My homeschooling experience with Seton has been a truly excellent and I would not trade it for the world. Through homeschooling with Seton, my family and I have come to know some incredible people and families. Nothing can compare with the lifestyle. In all my store of good memories, though, Seton’s high school stands out as the best time of my entire Seton history. All the hard work, late nights, and long hours were entirely worth it when I was able to receive my diploma from Dr. Clark, along with 120 other graduates and their families at the commencement ceremony in May. For all you Seton students, make the graduation your goal. It is unforgettable and you can do it. To all my fellow graduates of 2013, I extend my sincere congratulations. I salute all the parents for choosing Seton, and I respect all the work done for our benefit.
In closing, I would like to thank my incredible mom for my Seton education; choosing Seton was the best thing you could have done for me, Mom! Thanks to you too, Dad, for all the good times we had at Seton. Of course, thank you to the Seton staff, especially my favorite counselor, Christine Smitha. Finally and above all, I thank our Heavenly Father for all the many blessings He has bestowed on me. For all you other homeschoolers, I pray you receive His blessings in abundance and enjoy the rest of your summer. I know I will. God bless!
It was wonderful to meet so many of you at the graduation in May and I would love to stay in touch. Maybe we can do that on the Seton Alumni Board,