Robyn Barberry is the doting wife of her high school sweetheart, the mother of three precocious boys, and the art teacher at St. Joan of Arc school in Aberdeen.


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Your words are always so inspiring. I also spent 12 years in Catholic school and chose to give my children a Catholic school education. It is the best decision we have ever made!


I attended public school and taught in them as well. My husband attended catholic school K-12 grade. When our children were born, I was sure they'd attend the local public school. However, my husband asked me to go to the open house at St. Joan of Arc just to see it. I spent about an hour to an hour and a half and when I walked out, I called my husband and told him our kids were going to SJA without a doubt. I saw God everywhere, friendly faces and a welcoming family atmosphere. I realized that my kids could have God in their life daily and be with other like minded families and students rather than just think about God at home and on Sunday. Both my boys attended SJA through 8th grade and then went on to The John Carroll School and I was extremely satisfied with their education, both academic and spiritual. I'm so grateful that 15 years ago my husband asked me to visit a catholic school and consider it for our boys. Thank you Robyn for your insight!


Tri, tri again!

They were lined up on the Perryville Community Park dock at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 11th. There were a  little more than 50 of them -- men wearing skin tight black suits and neon green swim caps. A man on a bullhorn was counting down from 30 seconds. Their heart rates began the mountainous climb required by the cardiovascular feat before them. All they needed was for that man to yell “Go!”  At that moment, they would rush the waters of the Susquehanna in one of the ultimate tests of physical and mental strength: a triathlon. 

“That’s my Daddy!” Collin said to the lady with the fancy camera to our right.

“Good luck, Daddy!” Collin shouted. Patrick turned and waved, his eyes obscured by his smoky goggles. His dark, shaggy hair peeked out of his neon green cap.  

Soon, the buzzer sounded, and Collin watched as his dad (and a whole lot of other people’s dads) glided through the murky, tepid river for a half mile loop (sprint distance).

“He’s coming, Collin!  We better hurry!” I said, taking him by the hand to the top of the dock where the swimmers were emerging and dashing off to the second leg of their journey, a 7.8 mile bike ride.  

Collin scanned the faces of each athlete, looking for his Daddy’s beard.  When he saw Patrick speedily ascending the stairs, Collin shouted, “Yay, Daddy!”

We watched him transition to bike mode, cheering him along as he took off for a tour of Perryville, MD at 20 – 40 miles per hour in the open air. This is the hard part. They’re out of sight for so long. 

“I think that’s his orange shirt,” I’d say.  False alarm.  More waiting.  

Collin was getting restless, so I broke out the Play-Doh and picture books I brought to keep him busy.  When Patrick finally came whirring in, dismounted his bike, and ran it to the transition area, Collin and I dashed over to him, leaning on the fence that separated the athletes from the supporting cast.  

“How are you feeling?” I asked.

“Rough!” he said, as he strapped on his running shoes for a 2.4 mile run.

Collin and I waited at the finish line, watching for that beard and orange shirt. Finally, we saw Patrick bolting toward the inflatable finish line where we were shouting, “Come on!  You can do it!” and “Dad-dy!  Dad-dy!”  Before we knew it, we were sharing a sweaty group hug.

“Daddy! You did it!” Collin shouted, gazing at Patrick’s finisher medal. 

A triathlon is by no means a spectator sport.  But, I brought Collin along with me to the Diamond in the Rough sprint so that he could see the (tri)athlete in his father.  I wanted him to be inspired to take care of his physical fitness, to attempt and overcome life’s challenges, and to always make it to the finish line. 

July 23, 2015 11:51
By Robyn Barberry