Paradise Township, Monroe County - Catholic schools have been struggling to keep their doors open. Several in Northeastern Pennsylvania have closed but a small group of schools in the Poconos is bucking the trend. Schools in the Notre Dame system are actually growing.
The Scranton Diocese reports schools in that system have grown enrollment by almost five percent over last year. And today, those schools celebrated Catholic Schools Week.
Students at Monsignor McCugh School got to dress as their favorite book characters Tuesday. It was part of their week long celebration of Catholic schools in America. "It's a way for the students, the faculty, the families to celebrate the importance of Catholic education in their lives," said School Advancement Coordinator Danielle Rake.
Rake told Eyewitness News she grew up in the Catholic School system and she hopes to see more students have the experiences that she did. She said, "For a lot of families it is important that they are being educated in a faith-filled environment."
While many Catholic Schools in Northeastern Pennsylvania have closed or consolidated, that's not the case in Monroe County. Rake noted, "We're really marketing the schools in this area we've made a strong presence in local media, in our churches, in our community."
Parents are also getting involved in the promotional push by doing things like fund raising. Donna Higgins has three children in Catholic Schools and wants to make sure those schools stay open. She said, "I feel safe leaving my children here and being able to walk away."
Notre Dame officials also think they are doing well because they offer many classes that are being cut from public schools. "We take gym, music, music, art, and library," smiled first grader Chloe Gansarki.