Despite an overall decline in Catholic school enrollment throughout the Providence Diocese, Warwick’s three parish schools have seen incredible growth over the past several years, most of all St. …
Despite an overall decline in Catholic school enrollment throughout the Providence Diocese, Warwick’s three parish schools have seen incredible growth over the past several years, most of all St. Kevin School.
Superintendent for Catholic schools in Rhode Island Daniel Ferris said that in Rhode Island a combination of a decreasing population of school aged children as well as economic hardship has led to a decline in enrollment, but over the past 7 years St. Kevin, St. Peter, and St. Rose of Lima schools have seen an average of 60 percent, 36 percent and 30 percent of growth respectively.
“They are all remarkably strong schools,” Ferris said. “All three schools have amazing pastors who are deeply committed to the sustainability of Catholic education, strong leadership from high qualified principals and an unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of their families.”
This Sunday, January 31, to kick off National Catholic School Week, all three schools will host open houses for interested families. Although all of the schools are doing well, St. Kevin’s is the only institution of the three as well as throughout the state to see a steady increase in enrollment over the past five years, beginning with 148 students in 2010, and now has 235 enrolled for the 2015-2016 school year.
Father Robert Marciano, pastor at St. Kevin Church, which has nearly 2,000 families, said Catholic schools have a reputation for excellence in education that many parents gravitate to.
“Education is the sacred cow,” he said. “It’s what parents cherish most, passing on a good education to their children.”
Especially with the uncertainties and changes being made to the cities public schools, Fr. Marciano said that they have seen older students transferring to the school, parents seeking the “stability” of the Catholic school.
Despite this he argues, he Catholic schools don’t try and compete with the public schools in any form, but rather offer a different “product” altogether.
Similarly, he said that the three Catholic schools don’t compete with one another either, but rather, the pastors collaborate and partner together to promote catholic educations.
He said, “I think the benefit is these schools are based and run on Catholic values, servicing other before ourselves. We are run by moral values addressing the whole student, academically, physically and spiritually.”
Also unique to Catholic schools, because of their smaller size there is a lot more parent involvement, “the school becomes an extension of their families.” St. Kevin particularly also sees a lot of generational families with grandparents, parents and children all having gone through the school.
Principal of St. Kevin School, Roger Parent would argue a lot of the school’s success comes from Fr. Marciano’s dedication to it.
“He is our biggest cheerleader and such an advocate for Catholic education,” Parent said. “He is willing to invest in us. Father Marciano makes us an attractive place to be.”
Parent noted the Parish’s commitment to the schools new playground. The nearly $100,000 for the state of the art playground and picnic area was raised through the parish.
Fr. Marciano admitted, a parish makes “sacrifices” when working with a school, but the “investment” into children’s future is well worth it.
Superintendent Ferris believes St. Kevin’s, as well as the other two schools’ success is also rooted in the fact that their tuitions have remained reasonably low, some of the lowest in the diocese.
“They will do whatever they can to help families stay in school, to meet their tuition, to be available and accessible for all families that want to have their children in Catholic education,” Ferris said.
Fr. Marciano was happy to say that St. Kevin hasn’t seen a tuition increase in the last three years, and it remains around $4,300.
“It’s an environment of love and compassion,” Fr. Marciano said. “People feel safe here, we a child centered and all want to see our students do well.”
All three open houses will be this Saturday, January 31. St. Kevin’s will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 1. St. Peter’s will be from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m. St. Rose of Lima’s open house will start at 11 a.m. and run until 1:30 p.m.
For more information on the open houses visit each schools’ website, www.stkevinschool.com, www.stpeterschoolri.com, www.saintroseschool.com.
LUNCH TIME: St. Kevin School has seen incredible success the last several years, despite the fact that the diocese itself has seen a declining trend. Father Marciano pointed out that the school, over the past five years has increased the student population from 148 to 235.
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