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Mother Caroline aims to teach whole family

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On May 6, the school celebrated its 15th anniversary with a gala dinner at the Westin Copley Place. Tucker expressed triumph at the impact the school has had since its 1993 opening.

“I used to recruit girls for The Cambridge School of Weston when I was first introduced to Mother Caroline 13 years ago,” she said. “I just remember thinking, ‘My goodness, if I had a school like this growing up … Imagine what the possibilities would be if so many other young girls of color had access to this kind of school.’”

Observing Mother Caroline graduates at the various private high schools at which she worked, Tucker noticed that “they were ahead of their peers not only academically, but they also had a real handle on what it meant to really optimize their time at the school.”

“Sometimes, when things are given to you so freely, you don’t realize how much of a blessing it is,” Tucker recalled. “There is a greater appreciation for these girls, and you saw it.”

Still, in the 13 years since she began working with students from Mother Caroline, and in her two years as president of the school, Tucker says she has seen the landscape for independent schools change.

“When the school first opened, there weren’t as many charter and pilot schools that we had to compete for dollars with,” she said. “Now, the competition is greater in terms of securing the resources that we need to be able to keep our doors open.”

The school receives 70 percent of its funding from individual and corporate donations. Operating expenses at Mother Caroline during the 2005-2006 school year came to $2.4 million, with expenses for the middle school academy itself taking up 58 percent of the budget.

“These girls are exposed to a very challenging curriculum that most people in other schools pay a lot of money for,” Tucker said, listing off activities such as monthly visits to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, self-defense classes and documentary filmmaking.

Noting the continued ripple effects of supporting and educating the roughly 60 girls who walk through the school’s doors every day, Tucker added that the results are always rewarding.

“We’ve made a commitment to these girls through high school and through college,” Tucker said. “They say if you change a woman’s life, you change a community.”