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Why we chose Mustard Seed: the Haney family story

March 2, 2018 | Abby Liu

family photo

The day Bella visited Mustard Seed’s second grade class was the day she gave her heart to the school. Her family was moving from rural Pennsylvania to urban Hoboken mid-year. There were going to be a lot of big changes. Finding the right school was critical for a smooth transition.

Bella’s parents, Becky and Dave, were looking for a school that would welcome Bella and, when the time came, her sister, Lizzie. They wanted a strong academic program. A school that embodied the diversity that drew them to Hudson County. And a place where they might find a community for the whole family. It was immediately clear that Mustard Seed was the right fit.

Dave and Becky had no idea how they would pay for tuition on a pastor’s salary in an expensive new city. They applied for need-based financial aid and prayed. Waiting for the acceptance email and the financial aid award was a nerve wracking experience.

When the email arrived, Dave and Becky were stunned by the generosity of the financial aid award. Relieved. Then grateful. Thanks to the robust financial aid program and the generosity of supporters of the school, it was possible for Bella to enter Mustard Seed’s second grade. And suddenly the move from PA got a whole lot easier.

It was quite a change for Bella to go from her previous school, where she sat at a desk all day, to a more dynamic environment that fosters creativity and close interactions between teachers and students. But her new second grade class welcomed her with open arms and her parents felt that Bella started her time at MSS in the best way possible. In fact, their whole family felt embraced by the school community.

Bella began to grow in unexpected ways. Within the first term, Becky and Dave noticed that she became less of a behind the scenes kid. She became less anxious in front of others. More comfortable speaking in front of the class. Confidence took hold. “It was incredible to witness for us as parents!” says Becky.

Now both girls are at the school and thriving.  Lizzie’s in preschool and Bella’s in fourth grade. They’re eager to go to school in the morning and miss it when it’s closed. On weekends and vacation days, they play worship, re-enacting exactly what they do at school. Dave and Becky can hear the kindness of the teachers reflected in the way the girls imitate their own experiences. They see them growing in character, faith, and responsibility. And the music and arts programs are above and beyond anything they could have imagined—allowing the girls to express themselves in new and different ways.

Gratitude for the teachers, donors, and staff permeates their conversation about the school. “Our daughters grow and learn in an environment that suits their individual needs and personalities. We’re beyond grateful for those who’ve provided a way for our daughters to receive the very best education.”

Abby Liu

Former Director of Marketing and Communications

Abby Liu was the Director of Marketing and Communications from Sept. 2018-August 2021 and was an employee of Mustard Seed School for over 14 years. She’s the parent of two Mustard Seed School alumni. She's seen the impact of a Mustard Seed education from the early preschool days all the way up to eighth grade and beyond, and thoroughly enjoys sharing the Mustard Seed School story to this day.

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