The official numbers have now been reported and our diocesan and private Catholic schools registered 14,674 students for the 2015-2016 academic year. Of that number, 2,398 are attending one of our three diocesan high schools while 3,046 of the total are enrolled in the private Catholic schools within the diocese.
Of special importance this fall are the openings of Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep and the new St. Phillip & St. Augustine Catholic Academy.
Cristo Rey is an innovative effort to provide education to students from very low income families in a cooperative program with the business community. Students follow a demanding academic program but also learn on-the-job skills working for local firms. Cristo Rey is housed in the former St. Augustine Catholic School building in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas. There are 128 students enrolled in the inaugural class.
St. Augustine and St. Philip parochial schools have been combined into a new academy model now housed in a recently completed facility on the St. Philip campus serving the far East Dallas, Pleasant Grove and Mesquite areas. There are 335 students in the inaugural class. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings joined me in launching this new project that brings a new school to an economically-challenged area of our city.
St. Thomas Aquinas has the largest enrollment among elementary parochial schools and Bishop Lynch High School with 1,052 students has the largest co-ed high school enrollment not only in our diocese but also in the State of Texas.
We also recently received word that All Saints and Christ the King Catholic Schools in Dallas both received the distinction of being named National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.
There are many blessings throughout our Catholic school system and my thanks and congratulations go to the administrative staff and teachers for maintaining the high academic standards we require. I am especially grateful to our parents who make such a sacrifice to send their children to Catholic schools.
Image credit: St. Philip and Saint Augustine Catholic Academy