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Educational Entrepreneur Margaret Walsh (’15) recently appeared on consecutive episodes of EWTN’s At Home with Jim & Joy to discuss her company, Secret Garden Educational Pathways, which offers tutoring and remediation service for students with special needs. In the course of the interviews, she spoke of her time at the College, as well as the way her faith and her education have informed her ministry, which she likened to a vocation.

Margaret Walsh (’15) Margaret Walsh (’15)“After high school I went to Thomas Aquinas College, which was very foundational and formative for me,” Miss Walsh told hosts Joy and Jim Pinto. “That’s where I gained some of my inspiration for working with these students.”

Her work, which aims at helping students learn to learn, is predicated largely on Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy. “Seeing the connection between special education and the philosophy and theology I was doing in college was really eye-opening for me,” she said. “Aristotle and St. Thomas talk about the way that we come to know and understand; we interact with the world around us through our senses, and through the pathway that connects our senses to our mind, and then through the different pathways in our mind.” Even though “students who have special learning needs might learn a little differently,” she added, “it still follows a pattern that Aristotle saw long ago.”

What’s more, when special education is taught under the light of faith, educators can more readily recognize the innate dignity and value of persons with disabilities, which is all too often lost in more worldly contexts. “When you see the person as a valued individual who has infinite worth in the eyes of God, it changes your perspective on how you work with them and where you want to see them go,” Miss Walsh explained. “This [disability] is something that God has given this family and this student as a gift, in a sense, and learning to see it again from a Catholic perspective is really important because there is so much that you can offer up from any of this and so much joy that you can still find within the individual person. And, yes they have struggles, but they also have beautiful qualities within them that God has blessed them with — He hasn’t blessed someone else with that. He has blessed them.”

EWTN hosts Joy and Jim Pinto seemed sincerely impressed with Miss Walsh’s love for her students and the success she has achieved with them. “As a parent, this might be just what you’ve been praying about, to help you along with your child, to give you a little more help, a little more aid,” said Mr. Pinto. “Or maybe you’re a principal at a Catholic school, or a teacher at Catholic school, saying we could use a little bit more, somebody pulling up alongside of us, sharing how best to teach this young person — and doing it together.”