Student Spotlight:

Charlie Oxenreiter

Preparing for the future at Duquesne University


With four children, Mary Ellen had hopes of all of her kids attending the same Catholic elementary school. Thanks to St. Anthony School Programs, it was possible for her son with special needs, Charlie, to attend St. Thomas More with his brother and sisters.


“It was a blessing,” Mary Ellen explained. “We wanted to be able to send him to Catholic School but still keep all of our kids together. Having this option with St. Anthony made it a simple choice for us.”


Now 20-year-old Charlie is attending his second year of St. Anthony’s Duquesne University program. He’s learning life skills and how to manage Pittsburgh’s transportation system, and he’s gaining work experience. He’s also able to enjoy a normal college experience with plenty of opportunities to interact with other Duquesne University students.


Actually, Charlie was able to continue attending school with a sibling, as his sister just graduated this year from Duquesne University with her Bachelors in Education. Partly inspired by her relationship with Charlie, his sister will go on this fall to get her Masters in Special Education.


“She has something special with Charlie,” Mary Ellen added. “Growing up with a sibling with a disability was such a great lesson for my kids, along with Charlie’s classmates.”


For Charlie, he’ll attend his final year of the Duquesne University program next year. Mary Ellen is starting to look toward his future and knows the skills he’s learned through St. Anthony will help him through this next stage in his life.


“He’s taking care of himself, thanks to St. Anthony’s guidance,” Mary Ellen explained. “The job experiences are helping him understand that you should be proud of yourself when you finish a job, and that feels good.”


Mary Ellen encourages other parents in a similar situation to consider St. Anthony School Programs for their child.


“It’s about what works for you,” she said. “It’s a very nurturing, loving environment for many years of their developmental life. They really help their students prepare them to succeed in life.”


Student at St. Anthony's

Charlie Oxenreiter