Story by Erin Foley
“…Finding a lasting school ‘family’ for our children was of the utmost importance.” --Tressa Hartman, Christ the King parent

The Hartman Family,Christ the King School

Memories can be very powerful, especially good ones. When Tressa Hartman was younger, her father’s job at the phone company entailed several moves around the state. Tressa attended St. Agnes School in Springfield in grades 6 through 8, and then freshman year at Sacred Heart Academy prior to moving to Hoffman Estates, IL, where she graduated from high school. Though she was not Catholic, her experiences in Catholic schools left a lasting impression.

“Paul and I were both raised Lutheran, but I had a very positive experience and great memories of the time I spent getting a Catholic education” says Tressa.

Both Tressa and her husband, Paul Hartman, Jr. were born in Springfield. Paul grew up in Springfield, also. He earned a BA in Psychology & Business Management from Greenville College in Greenville, IL and works as the Illinois Director of the Office of Business Services for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Tressa lived in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and the city of Chicago for part of her high school years through early adulthood. She earned a BA in Legal Studies and Criminal Justice from UIS and is the co-owner of Phoenix Collision and Phoenix Westside Properties.

Their sons Paul III (age 10, fourth grade) and Cooper (age seven, first grade) attend Christ the King School. Paul has been at CTK since Kindergarten. His favorite classes are Computers, P.E., Social Studies and Reading. His favorite activities are scouts, Vacation Bible School, and “special” days. He cites his teachers, friends, the cafeteria and the children’s raffle as some of the other things he likes most about school. Outside of school he enjoys football, basketball, baseball, camping, swimming and fishing.

Cooper has attended Christ the King since pre-K. His favorite classes are P.E., Art, Computers and Library. He also enjoys scouts, art, his teachers, good friends, and movie days. He keeps busy outside of school with art, basketball, baseball, swimming and fishing.

Tressa and Paul Jr. considered several parochial schools before deciding on Christ the King.

“We felt that a Catholic education provided the best opportunity for our children. We wanted their Christian faith to be foremost in their education, as well as our home life. And the academic strengths of the Catholic schools would best prepare them for their futures” Tressa says.

They chose Christ the King after searching for a ‘church home’ for several years. Tressa and Paul began the RCIA process in 2010 and were confirmed on December 3, 2011, Cooper’s third birthday. Just over two years later, Paul III made his First Communion.

“The Catholic faith united our family and Christ the King was the catalyst that cemented our decision. After touring the school and seeing what the parish offered its families, we knew that CTK was where we wanted to be. We realize that God had led us to this parish family and that converting to this faith was His plan for us and our children. The journey we have taken – starting out by looking for a school and church home – and ending up as proud Catholic Christians, has been inspiring, humbling, and has given us the realization that we are truly blessed” says Tressa.

Christ the King has consistently proven to be the right choice for the Hartmans. They’ve made many friends. They rave about the faculty whom they call “amazing,” and they say that the teachers bring out the best in students by investing the time to make Christ the King a fun, energizing learning environment. Tressa and Paul also support their school and parish by volunteering. Paul is on the school board, the Long-Range Planning Committee, the Forming Intentional Disciples Committee and the Fundraising Committee. Tressa gives her time with the Boy Scouts, the Children’s Raffle Committee, Art Outreach and the PTO.

Paul says he is “grateful that God opened our eyes and brought our family together as Catholic Christians. This gift we have been given impacts us each and every day, and we are comforted and thankful that our children are able to grow and learn in this faith environment.”

He says that the family has celebrated Mass at churches all over the country, and it has been a joyous experience for them to worship with people they don’t know, but yet consider family through the Body of Christ.

“We strive to celebrate our Christianity as Catholics with our boys – teaching them that we don’t have to worship as Catholics – we GET to worship as Catholics” says Paul, emphasizing the gratitude that prevails in his family.

The long-range plan the Hartmans have for their sons begins with providing them with a strong Christian faith foundation that will guide them throughout their lives. Their mission is supported by the faith-based education they are receiving, which they feel makes them better parents and their boys the best Christian young men they can be.

“They will have the academic pedigree to succeed in life, and the Catholic Christian faith and support system to ensure they are good stewards of the many blessings they have been given. I know that long after our children have graduated, they will look back at CTK with the fondest of memories” says Tressa, who has never forgotten her own path and hopes that its worthwhile outcome will inspire the same happy memories for her sons.

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St. Aloysius
Blessed Sacrament
  Christ the King
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Sacred Heart-Griffin

St. Agnes  
Little Flower 
St. Patrick