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Catholic school enrollment fell nationally by almost 12 percent last year. Locally, The Youngstown Catholic Diocese is trying to address that trend by focusing on strength in numbers.
Nearly 130 catholic school teachers gathered at St. Dominc’s Church Parish Center on Lucius Avenue on Monday to kick off their new school year. Holy Family in Poland, St. Christine in Youngstown, St. Luke Early Childhood Learning Center in Boardman, St. Joseph/Immaculate Heart of Mary in Austintown, St. Nicholas in Struthers and St. Patrick in Hubbard are all part of the newly formed Lumen Christi Catholic Schools.
Just like its parishes, the Youngstown Catholic Diocese reconfigured its schools to bring together the six catholic schools and one early childhood learning center under one governing board, all in the hopes of pulling resources.
“Little things such as more buying power,” said Dr. Lois Cavucci, president of Lumen Christi Catholic Schools. “We just consolidated something as simple as trash pickup.”
That move alone saved the diocese $43,000. Cavucci said most of the changes will take place behind the scenes and will not affect students. But ultimately, one of the goals of the new system is increased enrollment.
“We are all one, and we need to work for the good of all of us to continue to keep Catholic education alive in our Valley,” said Susan Trewella, Cardinal Mooney High School Director of Missions.
The Lumen Christi Schools will hold a service day in October, bringing together all the students from the seven schools.
“I’m excited to see this new beginning. We can’t let go of our elementary schools and our high schools,” said Dr. Linda Miller with Ursuline High School. “It’s proven around the country that Catholic education by far creates a great product.”