Milwaukee Catholic Schools

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by Jennifer Tomazic

HARTLAND -- For the first time in 13 years, the Milwaukee Archdiocese Catholic Schools are seeing enrollment go up.

The numbers buck the national trend of declining enrollment.

Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Cepelka attributes the increase to parents wanting their kids to learn the same values at home and at school. She also says the great leaders in the district have helped bring the numbers up.

"Leaders who have the initiative to take on the needs of the 21st century and combine a school that provides academic excellence with very sound catholic faith based values," said Cepelka.

One of those leaders is St. Charles Catholic School Principal Michael Halstead.

To keep up with the changing times, Halstead has helped implement a language program that offers five different languages. St. Charles has also built a state of the art science lab and an instructional media center.

"We've done it all with the whole sense of community and great parental support and a good solid cadre of parent school leaders," said Halstead.

It's parents like John Grogan, father of four St. Charles students, who support the school in more ways than one. He's the volleyball coach and chairman of the school committee.

"It (St. Charles) gives them a first rate education and will provide strong leaders for Milwaukee for years to come," said Grogan. "It's a tough world to navigate and we believe our kids leave here with great resources for dealing with that difficult world."

Halstead says his kis are wonderful, "they add a very special component to the fabric of the community. I think they make us stronger. I think they give us a deeper sense of purpose."

Part of that purpose is contributing to their faith formation and Halstead says its something only a Catholic school can offer.

"Its our pleasure to serve and I hope that we're doing a good job, because it certainly feels right," said Halstead.

St. Charles has seen a 46% increase in enrollment in less than three years.

Milwaukee Catholic Schools are celebrating their 170th anniversary.

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