Sr. Regina Adds Up 45 Years of Sharing Mother Seton Spirit
by Ward Miele, Managing Editor

Sr. Regina Martin, who began her career at Mother Seton Regional High School as a math teacher, lends a helping hand to student Kaitlin Laico. "Sr. Regina is always willing to put aside what she is doing in order to serve others," Joan Barron, assistant principal, said. "She is a special blessing to the Mother Seton community."

First as a math teacher and then principal since 1975, Sister Regina Martin, S.C. and Mother Seton Regional High School are one and the same. Born in County Roscommon, Ireland, Sr. Regina came to the girls' preparatory school in 1964, one year after its founding.

Over her years at Mother Seton-located in Clark, in the shadow of the Garden State Parkway-Sr. Regina has taught algebra, geometry and calculus. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the College of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station; a masters degree in math from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Administration and Supervision from Rutgers University. She continued her math studies under grants from the National Science Foundation.

Looking back at her days in the classroom, Sr. Regina said it was "fun to teach. Being in the classroom was exciting to meet students, watch them grow and see them achieve success as young women in mathematics.

"Every student who walks through the doors of Mother Seton knows from the beginning that they are leaders," she said. "We consider each student as an individual." Among her overriding philosophies is that school should be "a happy place" to come to and learn. "It is important to work with people in a positive setting." The goal of everyone at Mother Seton is "to challenge but encourage; to bring out the best in our students, build their self confidence and watch them grow into young women."

When asked about the many changes in the principal's job over the years, Sr. Regina was quick to answer "more paperwork" due in large measure to compliance requirements dealing with federal, state, Church and local guidelines.

The teaching staff, Sr. Regina stressed, is willing to work with students "in and out of the classroom setting. We make every effort to choose those who can support our mission and philosophy," she said regarding the selection of teachers and administrators.

As principal, Sr. Regina said she enjoys watching students enjoy their high school years. She places equal emphasis on working with both the teaching and administrative staffs all in conjunction with meeting and working with students and their families.

At the high school level, girls quickly "gain independence while competing academically and athletically. Students are challenged," she said. A big reason for their success, Sr. Regina is convinced, is the foundation provided by the school's religious and campus ministry programs such as liturgical celebrations, outreach programs and off-campus retreats.

With the skills nurtured and developed during the girls' four years at Mother Seton, Sr. Regina stressed, each young woman will be equipped to make good choices at the college level and thus build a solid basis for her choices in adulthood.

The essence of Mother Seton High School, explained Sr. Regina, can be found in the school's motto: Academic Excellence, Seton Spirit. "It is a welcoming attitude and approach, a positive experience that you get as you walk through the building," she said, noting that this spirit represents a key element for the Mother Seton community.

Mother Seton is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and School. Underlining the fact that the Class of 2009 generated $10.9 million in scholarships, Sr. Regina declared Mother Seton is "an outstanding opportunity for girls in the area. It is an opportunity to experience a wide circle of students. Diversity is important, as is our Catholic identity," she said, noting that 80 percent of the student body is Catholic.

The students of today, said Sr. Regina, are "well-prepared, willing to take on challenges, are focused and work hard." She pointed out her students are adept regarding science, math and computer skills. As evidence of this, Sr. Regina cited some representative academic achievements. In local New Jersey Science League competition, Mother Seton, the only Catholic school taking part, was first in physics and chemistry and third in biology. In addition, the school's junior and senior National Current Events team placed second in the nation and freshmen placed first with three national student leaders.

Another significant part of a student's life at Mother Seton is outside the classroom setting and in several athletic and schoolrelated activities. Eighty-five percent of the student body participates in a variety of outreach programs, which Sr. Regina described as part of their core education experience.

Students regularly take part in community service projects throughout the school year such as a Thanksgiving food drive, Camp Fatima, coin collections for the needy, a Christmas Giving Tree, a Breast Cancer Tree of Life and a Women Aware Drive. Another popular activity is weekend retreats at Long Beach Island.

"Sr. Regina's boundless dedication as principal compliments each and everything that she does for Mother Seton," Joan Barron, one of two assistant principals, said. "Actually, she goes above and beyond her role as principal. Sr. Regina's generous spirit, many talents and steadfast efforts in Catholic education of young women is what makes Mother Seton a great school and makes its students successful."

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