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Catholic education still holds meaning - but for a thinning student flock

   Back in the 1950s and '60s, during the heyday of Catholic education in the city of Niagara Falls, there were 11 elementary schools.

   The city bustled with businesses along Main Street and downtown, the population was roughly twice what it is today and a significant percentage of its high school graduates came from Catholic high schools.

   Today, Niagara Catholic — the only Catholic high school in Niagara County — has graduating classes about one-fifth the size of those during the golden years of religious-based education.

   And there are only two Catholic elementary schools in the Falls.

   It's not that those who choose this less traveled road aren't better off for it — in both moral and educational terms.

   These are numbers that don't lie: the school boasts a 100 percent graduation rate and 99 percent college placement rate, Niagara Correspondent Caitlin Murray tells us in today's Niagara Weekend section.

   But there are other numbers, too: the $250,000 Niagara Catholic has to come up with to keep its doors open in the fall, and the plan to raise tuition by 20 percent next school year, from $5,600 to $6,700.

   For those who love Catholic education, and their economically struggling city, those are the kind of numbers that make one weep.

— News Niagara Editor Scott Scanlon

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Education | Niagara Falls | Religion
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