How much I miss the way things once were! It saddens me immensely to pass a Catholic church and to see an empty school building behind it, knowing that hundreds of children once walked through its halls daily. Catholic school closings have become an increasing trend in recent years, with nationwide enrollment declining 22 percent over the past decade. Contrary to some of my peers, I have had a wonderful experience in Catholic school over the course of 12 years.
The most common detriment to the reputation of Catholic schools is the increasing cost of tuition, an average increase of 69 percent compared with figures in 2003-2004. The Catholic Church, however, emphasizes sacrifice in its core doctrine and enrolling in a Catholic school is a sacrifice worth making.
Aside from a faith-based curriculum where Gospel values are shared and nourished, Catholic schools provide a rigorous curriculum with high expectations. Small class sizes and personal attention from teachers build confidence and character, contributing to successful adolescent development.
With a solid foundation created, students educated under the auspices of the Catholic Church are better prepared for higher education. More than 80 percent of Catholic high school students attend postsecondary education and are more likely to complete their program of studies.
If more people knew of the benefits of a Catholic education, enrollment trends would reverse. In my eyes, Catholic school is worth the sacrifice, and if you listen to your parish priest, “your reward will be great in heaven.” Until then, as enrollment continues to decline, we will just have to get used to seeing empty school buildings
JOSEPH SAMUEL ROGERS
The writer is a 2014 graduate of Central Catholic High School.