By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Families who reach out to the Community Catholic Center (CCC) for assistance in getting their children into a Catholic school will find that their options have expanded.
The CCC partners with elementary and high schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville and Southern Indiana to help West End children receive a Catholic education. Two additional schools partnered with the center this year — St. Stephen Martyr School and Immaculata Classical Academy — bringing the number of partner schools to 14.
“Every school has its own flavor” and parents should have the option to choose the school that “best fits their child,” said Heidi Hamilton, executive director of the CCC.
The center currently serves 95 students — 14 high schoolers and 81 students in preschool through eighth grade. Nine of those students are new to Catholic schools for the upcoming school year. The center opened in 2003 after the last Catholic school in West Louisville, closed. Since then the center has provided assistance to help families succeed in Catholic schools elsewhere. It provides tuition aid plus support to families and students, including tutoring and summer programs.
The first of two summer sessions, which last two-weeks each, concluded last week.
The center welcomed 60 children entering first- through eighth-grades to its campus. Volunteers were on hand to help students practice math and reading. Others helped to serve the children snacks and help a group prepare for a puppet show. A second session begins in July.
During the school year that just ended, students had more support than ever before.
The after-school tutoring program now provides one-on-one help. In the past, students were tutored as a group. The students have the same tutor every day, which has created mentorship, said Hamilton. Having an extra person supporting a student makes a difference and can lead to more success, she noted.
“We tell our kids that the volunteers don’t get paid. They are here because they want to be here. This shows them one more person that thinks they’re important,” said Hamilton.
She said this was an important step in growth for the center, which aims to increase the number of students served and the services provided in ways that are meaningful.
“We want to do what’s right for families. Growth is good, but we want to make sure it’s healthy growth.”
She added that the success of the students depends on everyone working together — families, students and teachers.
“We want families that want to be involved with their children’s education,” said Hamilton.
The center saw two of its students graduate this year — one from Holy Cross High School and the other from Trinity High School. The Trinity student was the youngest of four siblings who’d been served by the CCC over the past 13 years, said Hamilton.
“It felt like the end of an era for that family,” she said. Both students are enrolled in college for the fall.
The center is also celebrating the success of its annual spring fundraiser which raised more than $150,000 this year. All the money is used for tuition and support services, said Hamilton.
“We couldn’t do what we’re doing without a successful fundraiser,” she said.
To learn more about the CCC, visit communitycatholiccenter.org.