The Future of Catholic Schools


Abby Summers

Though the St. Louis Archdiocese is one of the largest in the country, the enrollment in Catholic high schools has taken a dip in the last few years. After the announcement of JFK High School closing and rumors of other Catholic schools declining, the prospect of flourishing high schools in the future seems tough to envision.

In today’s society, being Catholic, or religious in general, is not something that is always popular. Secularism has become a common practice and St. Louis is no exception. The number of baptisms being performed and Catholics in the St. Louis area are declining. Because of this, some Catholic high schools are struggling to maintain steady enrollment.

“We have a declining enrollment in Mass on Sundays and in parish life. So, for some families, [Catholic school] is not a sacrifice that they’re choosing to make. And it is a huge sacrifice to be able to pay tuition to have your child in either Catholic grade school or high school,” said SDHS President Cathy Fetter.

As some high schools struggle to make ends meet, St. Dominic continues to thrive with a steady enrollment each year. With an ever growing and improving community, we plan to keep our doors open for years to come.

“We’ve really upped our game in marketing in the last couple of years. We now have a full time person who does marketing and communication for us. We’re also about the fifth lowest in terms of cost of tuition and we work really hard to keep that down. So, I think having us be an affordable place for families to choose is helpful,” said Ms. Fetter.

Despite their best efforts, some high schools are unable to remain open any longer. Whether it be the expense of Catholic education or the decreasing amount of Catholics in the area, the enrollment at schools like JFK is plummeting. There have also been rumors of local schools like Duchesne High School closing as their numbers have declined, but these are purely rumors.

“What I can say is that everything I know about Duchesne, who is one of our sister schools and an archdiocesan school, is they’re going to be open. They’re going to be open for a long time to come; it’s a great school,” said Ms. Fetter.

With this problem being so near to all of us at St. Dominic, the best thing to do is hope and pray that each remaining high school in the Archdiocese will stay open for many more years and continue to share the Catholic faith. As the famous St. Louis question of “Where’d you go to high school?” holds strong, we hope that all Catholic high schools will still be standing to make it into people’s answers.