Promoting a private school (that happens to be Catholic)

I wish I had a weather-related post, since that’s all that anyone around here is talking about.

I had to chop away at the ice on my stairs this morning with a garden hoe. It was enough to make me miss shoveling snow.

But I don’t have any spiritual news related to the “wintry mix,” an expression I’ve quickly come to dislike.

So I’ll share a note that reader sent me.

The note was wrapped inside a flyer that Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains has sent out promoting their school.

The flyer notes many of Stepinac’s strengths: 100% college acceptance; SAT scores well above national average; Advanced Placement courses; 11:1 student/teacher ratio; wireless campus; state-of-the-art science labs; championship basketball and football teams; award-winning drama club; new sports complex with artificial turf coming 2011; and others.

But the flyer doesn’t promote or even mention anything about the school’s Catholic tradition or Catholic values.

The fact that Stepinac IS a Catholic school is obvious and the school is not trying to cover it up. The school is, after all, Archbishop Stepinac H.S. and people are asked to contact Sr. Margaret Morrissey for more information.

But, the reader notes, the flyer is not trying to sell Stepinac as a Catholic school but as a strong academic school that could be an alternative for anyone with the money (“only $7,700”).

The flyer states: “For more than 60 years, Archbishop Stepinac High School has shaped the lives of successful men by offering them a highly competitive academic program in a supportive, disciplined atmosphere. The faculty and staff are committed to academic excellence that is designed to prepare students for college and leadership roles. In addition to instilling values in their students, Stepinac offers an outstanding foundation for academic achievement.”

Disciplined atmosphere? Instilling values?

You kind of know what they mean.

“Can Catholic schools make it if they don’t promote that they’re Catholic,” the reader asks.

The Stepinac WEBSITE, by the way, promotes “Christian values and traditions.”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.