As a Jesuit school, faith and values are central to all that children learn and do throughout their Green Blazer journeys. For Mr and Mrs McNeilly, it was this ethos and moral outlook that convinced them that St Aloysius’ was where their twin girls, Zara and Brooke, would flourish.
“We chose St Aloysius’ because it has a strong Catholic and Christian background,” explains Mrs McNeilly. “This ethos is important to us because I grew up in a similar school in another country so, for me, it was rewarding to know that we had found a school that would teach them values to help them through life’s challenges and to appreciate its positives.
“One of the best aspects of the College is that its close relationship to the church helps give children a foundation for their lives which is like a calm in the storm of modern life. It provides them with a lifelong understanding of who they are and how they can share their faith with others in a considerate way.”
As twins, sharing is a key part of the McNeilly girls’ lives – which is why the College’s community is something their parents were thrilled for them to be a part of.
“Being twins, it is important to us that school feels like a second home to Brooke and Zara and has a family feel to it,” she says. “This comes from the fact that the College is guided by the Church and the set of values shared by teachers, families and pupils alike.
“The girls feel so at home that they’ll often feel comfortable expressing themselves to their teachers and discussing their issues with them. This is very helpful as it allows any problems to be resolved quickly.
“The assemblies that the pupils have in St Aloysius Church are quite amazing. This is a huge gift for parents as it ensures the children can grow within the church with a wonderful community ethos.”
Individuality and personal excellence are a key focus of Jesuit education, which is why, as twins, it was important that both Brooke and Zara had the opportunity to forge their own paths in the Green Blazer. This was recognised at an early stage by the Junior School, as the girls were encouraged to follow their own skills and talents.
“As twins the College has helped me see the girls as individuals,” explains Mrs McNeilly. “Last year the school suggested moving them into separate classes to allow them both to flourish on their own. Staff really helped me embrace their individuality and the whole thing was done in a very maternal way, which has really helped them find their unique talents.
“In fact, it was the College that first brought attention to Brooke’s talent for acting. She was always very good in plays and performance. It is a talent that she has loved discovering. Zara, meanwhile, is very interested in the piano and the harp, which we hope she will take up as she continues to develop.”