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Feb 28, 2024 MOST Staff

Parent Spotlight: Joy Lawrence Found Opportunity and Choice Through M.O.S.T.

Above- M.O.S.T. parent Joy Lawrence, surrounded by her five boys (from left) David, Robert, Charles, Jacob, and Johnny. While public school was right for David and Charles, Robert, Jacob, and Johnny thrived in Catholic School, thanks to M.O.S.T. Scholarships. 

Robert, Johnny, and Jacob Lawrence knew exactly what kind of education they wanted; the three brothers all wanted to go to Catholic school. Their mother, Joy, found the help she needed to make that happen through M.O.S.T.

“M.O.S.T. Scholarships gave us the opportunity to put the boys in the school that they wanted to attend,” said Joy Lawrence, the boys’ mother. “Robert really wanted to be in a small Catholic school environment. They all wanted to be there.”

While Robert, Johnny, and Jacob found what they were looking for at Holy Rosary, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, and St. Benedict at Auburndale Catholic High School, two other Lawrence brothers opted for public school. Neither Charles nor David liked the idea of daily Mass, but they did go on Sundays with the family, embracing their Catholic faith and heritage.

It’s not uncommon for M.O.S.T. families to find that their children have unique needs that require different environments. For example, a religious setting might be best for one sibling, while another may thrive in their zoned public school. M.O.S.T. Scholarships exist to give families choices and opportunity in education.

Joy acknowledges the moments of chaos that followed her five growing boys around the house, but remembers the days fondly.

“It was a lot of tiny memories,” she said. “Those moments made the years so special, and helped us all keep going when challenging things went on in the family.”

The boys’ schools also played a part in keeping their large family grounded. Connections to the school, its students, and its faculty and staff tethered the boys to a community, where they each were empowered to develop their own identity.

“My youngest, Jacob, was one of the only youngsters who was dropped off and picked up by his older brothers,” she said. “When they were all a little bigger the football coach, Coach O’Brien, ended up being Johnny and Jacob's very best friend. They would hang out with his kids until I left FedEX and could get there to pick them up.”

Joy remembers watching as her three Catholic school kids grew as leaders, with classmates who respected and looked up to them and teachers who believed in them. Their experiences at St. Benedict in particular stuck with them, creating a lasting affection for the school.

“Robert even came back and taught there for a small stint early in his career,” said Joy. “And just the other day, Jacob mentioned to me, ‘Oh, my God, it's my 10-year reunion this year!’ He's really looking forward to going back on that campus.”

Today, Joy’s five sons are thriving, following career and life paths perfectly suited for each distinct personality and goals. Private school wasn’t for every member of the Lawrence family, but for Robert, Johnny, and Jacob, their experiences at Catholic school shaped them into the men they are today. And because of M.O.S.T. Scholarships, their mother Joy was able to make those experiences happen.

Published by MOST Staff February 28, 2024