Meet The Morrissey Family of Villa Maria Academy Lower School
With three daughters, find out why the Morrisseys enrolled all of them at Villa Maria Academy Lower School.
When Keely and Joe Morrissey’s oldest daughter Madigan was finishing up kindergarten at a local Montessori school, they began exploring elementary school options. Keely, who grew up going to Montessori school herself and Joe, who grew up in the Catholic schools of Chicago, were keeping an open mind as they started their search. Most importantly, they wanted a school that could provide Madigan with what she needed, both as a learner and as a developing individual.
“Even though she had just completed kindergarten, Madigan was already an avid reader, and her math skills were advanced,” said Keely.
Both parents agree: “Madigan is, by nature, a helper. We don’t direct her to help others, it’s just who she is. And so, when we started looking for a school we knew it had to be a place that would meet her where she was academically, while fostering her kind-hearted nature.”
The Morrisseys, who live in Devon, visited countless schools before a colleague, who sent his daughters to Villa Maria, suggested they look into it as an option. When they visited Villa, they knew it was the one.
Eight years later, the Morrisseys have three daughters enrolled at Villa Maria Academy’s Lower School. Madigan is entering eighth grade, Finley will be in fifth grade, and Reagan, the youngest, will be in kindergarten.
Located in Immaculata, this Pre-K through eighth grade girls school (Pre-K is coed) has been providing families on the Main Line with a quality Catholic education since 1872. The school, established by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, integrates strong commitments to the spiritual and moral development of each student, a challenging academic curriculum, and the discovery and nurturing of each girl’s leadership potential. Guided by the IHM charism of love, creative hope and fidelity, Villa Maria’s foundational virtues, each student learns to live and share the values of respect, reverence, hospitality, compassion, and joyful service.
While Keely and Joe weren’t focused on an all-girls school during their initial search, once they visited Villa Maria, where their tour guide was a confident eighth grade girl, the all-girls setting became a priority for them.
“When I saw the confidence and assurance with which this young girl presented herself, I knew it was an essential element in our daughters’ education,” observed Keely. “If they could learn to speak publicly as though it was no big deal, then we would feel like we were doing it right–like we were providing them with a skill they would use for a lifetime.”
Sitting around the table with all three Morrissey girls, assurance and self-confidence are among the many valuable traits apparent in each of them. When asked what they love about Villa Maria, the consensus among all three girls was the community itself.
“My favorite thing is the welcoming atmosphere,” said Madigan. “If there’s a new student, we all want to be her friend.”
“I love how the teachers, staff, and kids are so nice and so friendly. Everyone is eager to help,” beamed Finley.
The youngest sister Reagan said she “loves that her teachers know her by name.”
Strong collaborative and supportive relationships between parents, students and faculty are at the heart of everything at Villa Maria Academy. Students are valued as individuals and nurtured to be self-aware, confident, competent, resilient and generous.
“If you’re looking for a school your daughter can call home,” said Keely, “Villa Maria will be it.”
Does Villa Maria Academy Lower School feel like it would be a good fit for your child? Maybe you have questions for Villa Maria Academy Lower School Parents?
We’ve been connecting Main Line parents since 2010. We encourage you to join the conversation in the comments.
Make plans to visit Villa Maria Academy Lower School at one of their open houses:
October 17 (5th-8th Grade) – 9:30-11:30 AM
November 14 (Preschool-4th Grade) -9:30-11:30 AM
December 11 (All School) -9:30-11:30 AM
March 13 (All School) -9:30-11:30 AM
November 7 – 9:00-11:00 AM
December 5 – 9:00-11:00 AM
January 9 – 9:00-11:00 AM
February 13 – 9:00-11:00 AM
Photographs by Sarah L. Bender