My name is Steven Durso and I am a recent alumni of Mater Dei Prep in New Monmouth, NJ, a school with a little more than 300 students. I just found out today that my beloved school will be closing at the end of the school year. This is heartbreaking to me since this school has done a lot for me. I have A.D.D. and Asperger’s Syndrome and there is no other school that helps students like me better than they do. I have been able to play football and even do musical theater there. Students, including myself, create special bonds with students, faculty, and even the principal of the school and seeing this being taken away from them is just heartbreaking. Even as an alumni, we are a family and through good times and bad, we always stick together. When we say we are a family, we really mean it since everybody knows everybody. Please join us and help us save Mater Dei Prep!

To someone who will listen,

The above paragraph was written by my son Steven Durso, Mater Dei Prep class of 2014. My son has never publicly
announced his diagnosis before , but felt compelled to do so in an email to the Ellen show upon hearing that this special school is closing June of 2015. MDP, was a safe haven for Steven and other kids, some with learning disabilities, auditory deficits, ADHD and other difficulties. My son was instantly accepted, nurtured and he thrived there. Where are these kids left now? Home schooling? Large public schools, where they stand being bullied, isolated, misunderstood? What about them?

I also have a Junior there, Courtney Durso. She is what parents of an Aspie child would call neuro-typical. Normal, average child, no social or learning “Issues”.. i hate that word..  Well she transferred to Mater Dei Prep 2nd semester of Sophomore year from a prominent local Catholic school. Well guess what, while that school has a wonderful reputation, kids love it. it was not the place for her. She did not fit into the mold of the typical student that attended there. She refused to sacrifice her belief system, her morals, her sense of herself, in order to “fit in” with that particular class. At Mater Dei, you can be yourself, no one judges you. No one bullies you. You have friends in all grades. She is an honor student, she loves Japanese animation, a self professed nerd,,she did not have to compromise who she was and what she believes in in order to ‘FIT IN” or risk being ostracized by her peers.

All this being said, one would think this school is amazing, it is a family, it is a warm accepting environment, teachers go beyond for their students, kids help each other, it is all that and so much more. We should applaud that such a school exists, it is insanity to close this gem of a school down. We should be proud of such a place!!!  I won’t even begin to understand the layers of political, financial red tape involved in this decision to close it. The community. the parish, the diocese must find a way to save this school. I’ll say it again, closing this school is the definition of insanity.

Please, help us,

Cindy Durso

AHHerald relies on advertising to support our operations.
When you click an affiliate link we may earn a commission.

Avatar photo

Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...