Public or private Catholic school?

Hi, first a little background, then I’ll pose my question (I apologize - I made it as brief as I could):

My 13-year-old Niece will be entering high school next year. I’ve had a pretty big part in her life, as I live with my parents who are raising her. She was confirmed Catholic with me in 2009 (we’re the first on any side of the family - my parents are not quite Christian, but more new thought/new age/unity). She has, due to the influence of her peer group, stopped going to Mass recently, and is gradually shifting further away from the Catholic faith in her views (such as on gay marriage). I’ve been praying and praying, and trying to be a good Uncle and influence her in what ways I can.

I would like to see her go to a Catholic high school, mainly in order for her to be surrounded by positive influences which can influence her back to her Catholic faith, as well as being in a better moral environment than she would have at the local public High School. She would want to go, I think, if she thought it were possible. There’s a good Catholic private school not too far from here, but it may take a lot to try to get her in there. We missed the deadline for financial aid. I am willing and able to pay for the first year, and to apply for financial aid for her for her second year. The thing is, it would take more than the “Catholic influence” thing for my parents to agree to send her there - though I believe they would be influenced if they were convinced it was very important for at least her moral development.

I need some (name removed by moderator)ut: Is it worth trying to get her into the Catholic private school? If so, any ideas on how I could convince my parents that it is a substantially better option than the public school (without any mention of the “Catholic influences” factor). They are under the impression that it doesn’t make much difference whether she goes to a public school or a private school…any (name removed by moderator)ut would be appreciated.

Really, it depends on the school and the area… so there’s not going to be any clear cut answer.

I highly recommend visiting the school, taking a tour of the campus, asking LOTS of questions… of course WITH your niece…

Some Catholic schools are very orthodox to the faith and are a fabulous influence in the faith lives of the students, and other school are Catholic-in-name-only and sometimes end up being private-yuppy-schools-for-the-rich… it just really depends! :shrug:

Best of luck to you and your pursuits!

In some places, you might get the opposite: there may be more faithful Catholics and positive influences at the public school while the Catholic school has a net effect of “immunizing” many kids against Catholicism. I’ve seen that too many times. :frowning:

As you can see, I think that depends on the schools in question. Don’t choose a school just because you prefer the label. Check them out thoroughly. :slight_smile:

I went to a Catholic high school that was pretty middle-of-the road on academics and faith. I LOVED it. I met my husband there, and I made life-long friends. I would send my kids there in a heartbeat, but not because I think it will “keep” them Catholic. That is really only something the family can influence, and then as adults a choice people make.

Well the problem I can see is the fact you are willing to pay for the first year. Do you realize how expensive a Catholic high school can actually be? What if your parents don’t qualify for financial aid the second year, are you willing to continue to foot the bill if that happens?

Why can’t you mention the "Catholic influences "factor when discussing it with your parents? I don’t know how you try to convince them its a better school without mentioning those factors. Other than that, I think making up a list of pros and cons between the public school and the Catholic school might help, such as activities, curriculum, class size, etc.

Like already mentioned, just because the school has “Catholic” in its title, doesn’t necessarily mean its truly Catholic OR a good fit for your niece.

I think my parents should get a refund from the supposedly Catholic high school we attended. Almost all of my friends/classmates (class of about 300) and the majority of my siblings are no longer practicing the Faith. Those of us who are faithful Catholics from my graduating class can be counted on 1 hand. It’s a shame. So, I’d suggest as others already said - checking out the potential school and asking lots and lots of questions. Also check out their website and marketing materials. See if you can determine their educational philosophy. Ask how frequently the children attend all-school Mass. Talk to one or two of the religion teachers or sit in on a class if that’s allowed. Find out of they are affiliated with a particular religious order.

The 2 Catholic high schools near me seem to be more of a status symbol thing than solidly forming young people in the Faith. I still have a few years to decide, but I think I will drive about 45 minutes each way to bring my child to a more orthodox private Catholic high school. It’s a tough call to make! Good luck

This is not assured, just because the school is a Catholic school. You need to research both schools and provide specific evidence that that specific Catholic school is better for your niece than that specific public school. Assuming your siblings are sensible people, they will probably put alot of weight on your neice’s desire to go to the school, so you should also encourage her to notice aspects of the Catholic school which she might find appealing. Are any of her friend’s attending there? Are there special programs? Is it a school with a good reputation with college admissions? Would she be able to take AP classes? Do they have a good music or sports programs? Is it a smaller school where she could make friends easily?

Children are obviously impressionable at this sort of thing, and so my advice that you do not send them to school at all, If you want the truth and from my past experiences it is evil, schools are not what you perceive them to be, the devil has brain washed society into believing that school is the answer well it isn’t, home-educate her instead.