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10/18/2013 1:34:00 PM
Family from Spain chooses Catholic school for values
St. Mary School photo
The Duncan kids board the bus: Michael in third grade, Maureen in 6th grade and Fiona in 8th grade.
St. Mary School photo
The Duncan kids board the bus: Michael in third grade, Maureen in 6th grade and Fiona in 8th grade.

STAYTON — Rob Duncan grew up in Scio and played against Regis High School teams when he was young. But after getting his start in Oregon, Rob moved to Spain in 1989 to teach English and eventually become a journalist. It was there that he met his would-be wife Lilly and they started a family together. In recent years, when the economy took a dive in Spain, Rob and Lilly decided to move back to Oregon with their four young children.

While the kids knew Spanish as their primary language, Rob and Lilly saw this as an opportunity to let them learn English first-hand and to experience American life. The Duncans settled in Albany and spent two years in Albany public schools. But in the summer, their 11- and 13-year-old daughters went to a Catholic girls’ camp. They came back saying they want to go to Catholic school.

Although it was pretty late in the year to be changing schools, the parents set out to find the right place for their children. Just last spring, they had looked at Regis for their oldest child. There, they also met Rick Schindler, principal of St. Mary School here.

"We just had a feeling," Duncan says. "I can’t explain it, but we had a feeling.”

“For us, education is very important, and we felt that we would get a quality education for our children at St. Mary,” says Lilly.

In August the Duncan family enrolled their third grade son Michael, sixth grade daughter Maureen and eighth grade daughter Fiona at St. Mary's. The Duncan kids are enthused.
“My children were looking for a school where they could go to Mass, talk about God in class and say prayers," Rob says. "We enjoy being around families with like values—you can just tell when you walk through St. Mary and talk to people. We share the same values and that’s very important to us."

It's so important that the family has committed to a 40-minute bus ride each way from their home in Albany. Last spring, St. Mary announced that it would be providing group transportation to Albany area families. The Catholic school in Albany had announced it would close. The Duncan kids catch the small, white school bus every morning and afternoon.  

“It's is a long trip, but the nice thing is that there is a bus – without it I don't think we would have been able to attend St. Mary,” Fiona said.

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