Guest column/CCHS, the school on the hill, thriving still

Catholic Central High School, that school on the hill, offers families and the community it serves endless opportunities to thrive in mind, body and spirit. By way of academics, athletics, service and growth in faith, the students who attend Catholic Central develop and mature in an environment that thoroughly prepares them for their future life. Catholic Central remains, as it has for more than 100 years, the high school for those wanting a Christ-centered, academically excellent high school education.

With a graduation rate of 100 percent, all Catholic Central students leave to pursue either the military or a two- or four-year college degree. Last year’s universities included Franciscan University of Steubenville, Notre Dame, Villanova, University of Penn and others. Seven 2018 graduates scored 30 and above on the ACT, which was 10 percent of the senior class excelling above the state average. This same 2018 senior class was offered $3.2 million in grants and scholarships. During the past five years, Catholic Central students on average have outperformed the Ohio state average ACT score every year. Catholic Central’s survey of desired new courses resulted in its offering 10 new classes including advertising, marketing and sales, culinary arts and forensic science. In addition, a classical curriculum called the Chesterton Academy has attracted a cohort of 17 students who flourish in their studies of philosophy, ancient history, literature, Latin and theology. Catholic Central also offers College Credit-Plus courses and dual enrollment courses. Catholic Central’s academics are thriving.

Catholic Central enjoys a long tradition of athletic success that continues today. Students are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of sports teams that promote virtues like hard work, discipline and teamwork. “Sports can open the way to Christ in those places or environments where, for different reasons, it is not possible to announce him directly; and people, with their witness of joy, practicing a sport as a community, can be messengers of the good news” (Pope Francis, June 2018). This quote from Pope Francis embodies our mission. Our sports teams have experienced success on the fields and growth as student-athletes. To name a few, Catholic Central’s football team has successfully advanced to the playoffs for the past two years. The girls basketball has successfully competed in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and state tournaments in recent years. The boys soccer team has brought home the OVAC championship in three out of the last four years. The girls Volleyball team was a shining example of our Crusader spirit. The boys and girls track teams produce tremendous results year after year. This year we also added cross country to our list of varsity sports. Athletics at Catholic Central are thriving.

With “Courage, Character, Heart and Spirit,” Catholic Central students give back to our community through service. In October, the entire school sent teams to more than a dozen locations to offer a full day of service through our Faith in Action day. Additionally, our students helped gather Thanksgiving baskets for the Samaritan House, Blessing Bags for the Friendship Room and raised more than $1,500 for the Teramana Cancer Center through the No-Shave November activity. These service events help students and staff to thrive as they put others before themselves.

Holding all these aspects of Catholic Central’s mission together is our faith. Our goal is to provide an environment where students can encounter Christ. Each week, Mass is celebrated with the whole school, and students are offered opportunities for reconciliation. The gathering for a monthly after-school student-led adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has united our students in heart, prayer, praise and worship. The numbers attending each month steadily grows.

Our campus ministry team, led by the Rev. Michael Gossett, has given numerous students the opportunity for powerful conversion on two successful Kairos retreats for our junior and senior students. In addition, each of our individual grade classes also place their focus on God as they take time to pray on their individual class retreats. Our faith at Catholic Central is thriving.

Supporting the students and the mission at Catholic Central is an outstanding faculty and staff. Their endless hours of dedication and service provide our students with excellent role models whose expertise inspires students to grow. They are, in large part, the reason for the success of our school. Our faculty and staff truly embody our motto of “Courage, Character, Heart and Spirit” as they demonstrate on a daily basis their love for our students. Catholic Central’s academics, athletics, service and faith are thriving and flourishing. An investment in Catholic education is an investment for the future of our children. Please come to visit us to see the great things we have to offer. You can schedule a shadow day or come to our open house from noon to 2 p.m. March 10.

(Costello is the principal of Catholic Central High School.)