contributed by Maureen Crone on 11/28/17
PC Blog: 7 Reasons to Choose Peninsula Catholic High School for Your Child… One Parent’s Perspective
“School Choice” has become a hot topic lately in America. As parents, we all want the best for our children, and that includes how and where they spend the majority of their time… school. Choices have become so abundant for parents in recent years that it can be hard to sift through them all, and to discern where best our children will thrive and succeed.
As a parent, I had a list of priorities in hand when my family moved to Hampton Roads and I started my school search. Budget was a big one, but so were: the culture of the school community, the attitude and character exhibited by students who attend, and the level of involvement from the parents of those students. Your priorities may differ from mine, I’m sure, but there are a few things at the top of all of our lists. With that in mind, here are my “top 7” reasons to choose Peninsula Catholic:
1. College readiness. This is what we all hope for, and expect in a college preparatory high school… and PCHS delivers, year after year. Last year alone, the early acceptance rates for our students to William and Mary, UVA, and VA Tech was impressive (13 in all), especially given the class size of 57 students. Colleges accept students based on their individual performance, AND the performance of their predecessors now attending those colleges. PC students are trained, by the semester block schedule and variety of dual enrollment classes, to succeed in a college environment. When they get to college, they keep on going. Success breeds success. PC seniors continually earn a 100% college acceptance rate.
2. Catholic identity in an inclusive environment. Weekly mass and a fantastic Theology department provide a strong Catholic foundation for students, and encourage the pursuit of knowledge to better understand faith practices. At the same time, the “catholic” part of the Roman Catholic Church means “universal”—for everyone. This is evident at PC, where about 1/3 of the students are not Roman Catholic. There is a place for each student at PC, and the environment is one of inclusion for many cultures, faiths, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
3. Retreat! Teens are bombarded with opportunities for solitude these days, and relationships are often formed via Instagram rather than in person. The retreat and fellowship programs at PC serve a vital role in educating students both spiritually and socially, by allowing time to “unplug” and thoughtfully interact with each other. This part of a young person’s education is what I consider essential to cultivating her capacity for compassion and philanthropy.
4. Highly qualified teachers and low class sizes. The majority of PC faculty holds master’s degrees; many are certified to teach Dual Enrollment and Advanced Placement classes; all engage in regular professional development to stay ahead of the curve in education trends. This expertise is shared in small classes, giving students ample time to form relationships with their instructors and delve deeply into subject matter.
5. Room for everyone on the playing field. PC’s small size (about 260 students in grades 8-12) is a boon for the multi-sport athlete. There is competitive play for all skill levels at this Division 2 member of the TCIS and VISAA athletic conferences. About 75% of the students play at least one sport a year.
6. You get what you pay for… and much, much more. Yes, budget was a major consideration for me when choosing a school for my children. I was pleasantly shocked to see what I was getting for my money at PC, though—Chromebooks for all students (in fact, PC was the first in the region to adopt this technology into its curriculum), dual enrollment opportunities (students may earn up to 56 college credits by the time they graduate), and the Google Apps for Education certification all show me that PC is truly an investment in the future of my children. Tuition costs, though, are significantly lower than area private schools. The combination of school fundraising, assistance from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond , and generous scholarships all contribute to a cost substantially less than other private schools.
7. PC is family. The level of volunteerism and support provided by the parents at PC is unmatched in my opinion—and our mobile military-employed family has seen its share of schools. The parents here support their students’ teachers and coaches, pitch in for fundraisers and alumni events, and are as much a part of the school community as are their children. Parents and teachers at PC partner in raising students to think, lead, and serve in the world around us.
Maureen Crone is the parent of two PC students, and works as the marketing and special event coordinator at school.