Patrick McPartland/Staff Photographer - Kevin Klute a freshman at St. Joseph Collegiate Institute, tells of his experience at St. Joe's at a high school recruitment day held at St. Leo the Great School, Amherst. Representatives from Catholic high schools met with elementary students from the area.
Choosing a high school could be the first truly important decision a teenager makes. Sports, clubs, cost and location must all be considered before making the four-year commitment.
Luckily, some elementary schools have made it easy to do some comparison shopping. Two high school fairs –
one in the Southtowns and one in the Northtowns – bring the high schools to the seventh-grade students of the neighboring elementary schools.
On March 1, St. Leo the Great School in Amherst invited students from seven elementary schools to learn about what area Catholic high schools have to offer. Students heard from three schools that interested them.
Representatives from each of the 11 participating high schools gave a 20-minute presentation about their classes, clubs and campus. Older students spoke about their experiences and handed out brochures, literature and the ultimate recruitment tool, free pens.
Steven Grieco, director of enrollment at St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster, spoke about the extracurricular clubs the school offers, how students have a strong voice in what the school offers and how clubs are run. He even encouraged one prospective student to start a squash club, as it is a sport she wanted to learn.
“St. Mary’s has a lot of different classes to offer. We have the normal math, English, like everybody, but our electives are different from other schools. Our students have input in what electives they want to take,” Grieco said.
Down the hall, Pete Kennedy, director of admissions for St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Kenmore, spoke on the Lasallian tradition and camaraderie present at the all boys’ school.
“We have 730 students in our building. We call them brothers,” Kennedy said. “Seniors are older brothers to the freshmen. Teachers are older brothers and sisters to the students. Coaches are older brothers to the student athletes. That is who we are in a nutshell.”
Questions about music programs, sports facilities and school hours came from the seventh-graders. When asked what makes St. Joe’s better than other schools, Kennedy handled it diplomatically by saying that all the Catholic high schools offer a good education.
“I don’t think you can go wrong by attending any of the schools that are here today,” he said.
The fair seemed to offer a good deal of information to the students, many of whom were still undecided at the end of the presentations.
“It’s very nice. I’m learning a lot about the high schools I’m thinking about going to,” said Louise Mancuso, 12, currently from St. Christopher School, Tonawanda. “I’m looking for a high school that has lots of sports opportunities and college credits.”
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School in Orchard Park hosted a similar high school fair for Southtowns elementary schools on March 29.
“This is just a great opportunity for high schools to be able to have contact with a large number of students,” said Sienie Kelly, admissions director for Nardin Academy in Buffalo. “And it’s great for elementary schools because it minimizes their disruption.“
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