By Jo-Ann Semko
A few years ago I had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to the land of my maternal ancestors. As I planned this adventure I could only imagine what I would encounter on “the other side of the ocean!” I had sat on my Nuna’s (grandmother’s) knee as a child as she told me stories about the old country and the family she had left behind to come to America and begin a new family here in the land of opportunity. Knowing very little about the lay of the land, I did my research. I spent many hours on social media sites, internet sites, and talking to friends and relatives who had already made the trip in prior years. I knew what I wanted to get out of the trip and had my priorities in line for what I wanted to see and experience. With research and determination to make this a trip of a lifetime I set about plotting the route I would take through the country, where my stops would be and what would be the best method to achieve all of my goals. My trip turned out to be fantastic and I achieved all of my goals. I give credit to my research for providing me with the right opportunities to make this trip so wonderful.
Your family is embarking on the same type of planning when you plot the path of your child’s education.
You are a savvy parent who obviously wants what is best for your child(ren). You know what you want to get out of your child’s educational experience planning that they will be self-assured, receive individual attention and that they will belong to a community that cares about them. You want to be sure that they have top-notch academics and service opportunities. You realize that you want your child to be kind and compassionate as well as passionate about their pursuits. So, you do the research. You compare websites, visit social media sites, talk to current families and friends and prepare to make an informed decision after asking for recommendations. You take a tour of the school to get a feel for the overall climate and you check out the academic landscape to make sure your child will be ready to conquer whatever future profession they choose. You have done your homework and you have done it well.
Our children are the most valuable possession we each have in our lives and hold in our hearts. To have our children grow up with positive morals and values is so important to each of us which makes our school choice decision so important to our child(ren) and their future. Allow me to tell you about the Catholic schools across this great country of ours.
US Graduation Rates: Catholic Schools 99.5%, Other Religious Schools 97.5%, Non-Sectarian Schools 93.9%, and Public Schools 84.1% with actual diplomas awarded.
Average Class Sizes of Catholic Schools: Elementary 12:1, Secondary 11:1
Percentage of high school graduates who attend a four-year college: Catholic Schools 86.5%, Other Religious Schools 63%, Non-sectarian Schools 56.8 %, and Public Schools 46%.
Based on the average public school per pupil cost of $11,841, Catholic schools provide $21 Billion in savings each year to our nation.
I would like to invite each of you to come and visit our schools. Each will welcome you with open arms into a relaxed atmosphere of caring and concerned individuals who will be working with your child(ren). Grandmas and Grandpas please feel free to come an experience our schools also to see the benefits they hold for your loved ones. All are welcome!
Jo-Ann Semko is the Diocesan Director of Education.