“I think Cathedral School is one of the best-kept secrets in the diocese.” -- Chris Flynn

The Flynn family, Cathedral

Catholic education is important to Chris Flynn.

“It helps children find a focus or center and allows them to look at today’s challenges through God’s eyes” says Chris. “They are kids and mistakes will always be made” she continues “[but] in a Catholic Christian setting, they can evaluate decisions based on ‘WWJD’ and work toward making good decisions.”

Her husband Tom agrees. “The atmosphere of faith, discipline and structure are valuable tools. The Christian values that are being promoted daily are essential, and a good way to combat negative influences of society” he says.

This is why they send their son, Tim, age 12, to Cathedral. But there are other reasons, too.

Tim has some learning issues and the Flynns are committed to helping. His teachers are committed, too. Chris believes it takes a village to raise a child and that she’s found her village in Cathedral.

“From the principal, Mrs. Fuchs, to the junior high teachers – Mr. Kisling, Mrs. Walch and Mrs. Kreiling -- to the office and cafeteria ladies, we have found acceptance, love and compassion. The St. John Bosco program with Mrs. Woiwode and Mrs. Lentz have worked to identify Tim’s needs and keep him on track” says Chris.

Family support, excellent resources and steadfast teamwork have given Tim the confidence and resolve to improve his grades. When Chris saw Tim’s first report card of the quarter, she cried.

Tim’s favorite classes are Physical Education, Social Studies, Math, and particularly World History. He also enjoys recess and playing on the baseball team. He and his family appreciate the small class sizes and the welcoming atmosphere.

Chris was born and raised in Springfield, attending public schools, including Lanphier High. She began her college career at Lincoln Land Community College and finished with a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Western Illinois University. Her last year of college was important, she says, because she finished her degree, moved out on her own and became a Catholic at the age of 21. She moved to Jacksonville to become Development Director for Jacksonville Routt Catholic High School and Our Savior grade school, and there she met Tom.

Tom grew up in Jacksonville and went to public grade school until sixth grade. He attended Our Savior School for junior high and then Routt Catholic High School, as did his six brothers and sisters. He received a Bachelor’s in Accounting from Eastern Illinois University and later completed the C.P.A. exam and Certified Financial Planner requirements.

“Tom is a C.P.A., A.B.V. and C.F.P. – which means he is an accountant who does financial planning and business valuations” says Chris. In 2011, he started Professional Funeral Alliance, Inc. with a few other accountants, and the business has taken off. They do tax accounting for funeral homes nationwide and Tom also helps funeral homes transition when the owners retire or become ill. Chris works with her husband part-time in an administrative capacity.

The Flynns moved from Jacksonville to Springfield in 2005 when Tim was four years-old. Two older Flynn children are proud homeowners who live away. Amy, 24, attended Northern Illinois University and was on campus during the tragic shooting there in 2008, when a lone gunman opened fire in a large lecture hall, killing 6 and injuring 21.

“That is a moment in time we will never forget – getting texts and hearing updates on the news” says Chris. Amy transferred to and graduated from the University of Illinois, Springfield with a degree in Journalism. She is employed by the Orthopedic Center of Springfield.

Andy, 28, graduated from the University of Oklahoma, Norman and received his law degree from SIU School of Law. He lives in Marion, IL and is a partner in the law firm of Tetzlaff and Flynn.

Chris is a dedicated volunteer for Cathedral School and Parish. She coordinates the delivery of Market Day groceries each month, which include frozen items, meat, cookies and vegetables. She sorts and distributes the food and collects payments. A portion of each order is earmarked for donation to the school, and approximately $200 a month is raised in this fashion. Chris has also assisted with the Cathedral Fun Fest, helped with the school auction and serves as a room mom for the seventh grade. In addition, she volunteers a few days a month on the playground and helps with field trip transportation when needed.

Chris gives much of her time because she feels her family gets much out of the Cathedral experience. She loves so many things about the school, especially that it equally encourages sports, the arts and science. She feels that its diversity provides a tremendous opportunity for all of God’s children to realize how unique and special they are.

“I believe everyone feels valued and treasured at Cathedral. Isn’t that what our faith tells us – we are many parts, but of one body? Cathedral teachers and staff get that, and work to find a way to reach each child and to value each child” she says.

“I truly believe Jesus is holding us in the palm of his hand” says Chris, who acknowledges that there are so many pressures and demands in raising kids. She and Tom are grateful for their “village” at Cathedral where Tim is getting what he needs, and so much more.

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