SAN ANTONIO- Could a new trend be sweeping across catholic schools to keep them afloat? It's the first day of school for students attending catholic schools in San Antonio. And it's a much different experience this year for students from three parochial schools that merged.
The days of nuns running catholic schools and practically working for free are long gone and so are the days of an affordable catholic education for many. The combination has led to drastic changes in how some parochial schools are being run.
“Oh yes definitely because we have to market now, we no longer have the nuns. In the past whole communities were devoted to a whole religious order that ran their school,” explained Carol Johnson the new principal for the new Good Shepherd Catholic Academy.
The first day of school was filled with excitement at the Good Shepherd Catholic Academy. It’s a new school in a nearly 100 year old building that used to be Saint Leo the Great Catholic School. It merged with Saint Phillip of Jesus, and Saint Cecilia Catholic Schools.
According to Principal Johnson, “It is just a reality that you can not have aging structures without the finances to make repairs”.
Declining enrollment was also a deciding factor. While the decision was met with controversy Principal Johnson said the changes have been positive.
“We have more students than what we have had in the past,” said Johnson.
The school is now managed by a network that is able to combine sources to save money. But, it is still under the direction of the Arch Diocese of San Antonio. Principal Johnson adds that the new trend is allowing educators and parents to focus on solid academics and core religious values.
Tim Wauson, a parent who is considering enrolling his daughter at the school said, “Just coming here, just kind of seeing how everything is I’m really impressed especially with curriculum and the way the students are especially on the first day”.