Congratulations to all of the Catholic schools in the Capital Region celebration National Catholic Schools Week this coming week (January 26-Feb 1).  Catholic schools across the country and here in the Capital Region will be observing with Masses, open houses, and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members.  These activities will focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to church, community, and the country.

I went through the Catholic school system from Kindergarten right through high school.  When my parents wanted me to go to college at St. Bonaventure University, I finally said although it is a great school, I do have to find out what life is like outside of the Catholic education system!

My generation didn’t realize how fortunate we were to have Catholic Schools affiliated with almost every Catholic Church in our city.  Parents were able to afford to send the whole family through these schools because the typical annual cost was under $100 per child for grammar school and under $1,000 for high school.  For those who couldn’t pay the tuition or couldn’t pay the entire tuition, there were ways for the parents to work off the costs by working bingo or other fundraising activities.

Those costs have soared to nearly $3,000 for the elementary school and to just over $6,000 for the high school.  Even though there are discounts and scholarships, it is still out of reach for many people especially with school tax rates increasing.  Plain and simple, the difference is that we had many nuns and priests who taught at our schools, who typically didn’t draw an individual salary but rather taught as part of their mission and the school supported their living costs at their on-campus housing.  With less and less people choosing to join the orders, those resources are just not there for the Catholic schools anymore.  This means the schools must pay lay people, which is expensive but necessary.

What a lot of parents don’t realize is that in the long run, the Catholic School education may not be as expensive as first thought.  Many Catholic high schools boast higher SAT numbers than their public counterparts, higher scholarship numbers from top universities for their students, and a greater number of students who say their Catholic school education made them a more disciplined student.  With the cost of a college education soaring at astronomical rates, paying more for a Catholic education through the early years may pay off with better college options coupled with bigger scholarship offers.

I guess what I am trying to get across is that Catholic Schools deserve a lot of respect in our communities for what they are trying to do for our youth.  The families sacrifice a lot to put their children through the system, but the efforts seem to be paying off.

For more information about a Catholic education for your child, visit