Monday, June 11, 2012
What's going on at St. Ambrose?
I know the neighborhood politicians will never do anything about it, so I thought I'd take a minute to talk about St. Ambrose School. Not sure if it's true, but I heard recently that only six students had registered for next Fall's Kindergarten class. It makes you wonder whether the neighborhood can support five Catholic grammar schools. Currently, we have St. Ambrose, Notre Dame, Trinity Catholic, OLV, and Our Lady of Discovery. I include the Discovery School because it is essentially a Catholic School minus the daily prayer rituals and Murphy's Oil Soap. When the politicians are all sending their kids there, you know it is not your typical public school. I don't see any of these snake oil salesmen sending their kids to Southside or School #27.
Let's face it, times are tough around here. Parents able to get a free education equivalent to a private education, jump at the chance. Then, you have the South Buffalo Charter School, which also takes students away from private schools like St. Ambrose, due to price (free) and proximity. There are also so many families who have fled the city due to better job opportunities out of state or for quality of life. My mother sits in her backyard and watches people walking by, smoking marijuana in public, littering on her property, and uttering obscenities. Then, the cars speed by going 85MPH with their speakers blaring. Not to sound like a prude, but it's no wonder so many people choose to move to the suburbs.
St. Ambrose is a very good school. I've met several students from there over the years and they are great, intelligent kids. I have to ask whether there is more at play here than just increased competition from other schools? Schools like St. Ambrose are going to have to be ahead of the curve in order to remain open. What can they offer prospective students that the other schools cannot? The simple answer is a Catholic education. However, people are fickle, and will jump ship if they think the grass is greener on the other side (of McKinley Parkway).
They have a great group of dedicated parents over at St. Ambrose. I see it in their sports programs. Unfortunately, their numbers are so low, it makes it difficult for them to compete against bigger schools like Notre Dame. I would be interested to hear from parents from St. Ambrose and elsewhere to understand what has really been taking place. I know the parents from the school have been trying to drum up support and hopefully, it will pay off with an increase in future enrollment. This post is not meant to deride any of the other schools in South Buffalo. I just hope St. Ambrose doesn't suffer the same fate as St. Agatha's, St. Thomas', and Holy Family. I think it can be saved if people work together and come up with innovative ideas.