BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - As children roam the halls of Nativity BVM Elementary, their goal is to entice some of these other children who don’t go to the school to enroll in what teachers are calling the best-kept secret on the Gulf Coast.
Traci Kessler, the new principal, believes that the students have the best insight as to what makes the school so great.
Kessler is the new principal at Nativity. She follows Sister Mary Jo Mike, the beloved principal at the Catholic school for over 27 years. Planning her first open house without Sister Mary Jo, Kessler knew she wanted to make sure that she was making the best use of her resources: her students.
“This year we’re trying to have them involved in the tours because they’re the ones that really know what makes this school special. We’ve used them some when parents come throughout the year for tours and they give great insight," Kessler said.
What sets Nativity apart, according to these students, is not only the group-based education but the Catholic education as well.
“We are a really cool school because we have tons to do after, and we have piano lessons, violin lessons and band lessons," said fifth-grader Grace Baker.
Sixth-grader Baileigh Joy loves the environment provided at the school.
“Honestly, nobody is ever mean. There could be drama but that doesn’t matter because everything just wraps up in the end. Everybody is super nice here and it’s really fun," she said.
What about the argument that a Catholic school education costs too much money?
“We have a lot of opportunities for families here. I know a lot of times they think, ‘I could never afford a Catholic education.’ We have grants for people that may be minorities, or they may just have some financial struggles. We have a foundation, the Nativity School Foundation. To date, they have given us over $96,000 directly to the students. They get part of their tuition taken off each year," Kessler said.
In addition to the environment, after-school programs are important to sixth-graders Tristan Davis and Parker Talley.
“After school on Thursdays, we work together, we program a robot. We go to tournaments and our robot goes into competitions and he does obstacles and we have to program him to do those certain obstacles," Davis said.