By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
ROCKLEDGE -- Like any parent, Space Coast residents want to give their children every chance to succeed.
In an effort to help parents see this dream become a reality, the nine Brevard County Catholic schools will host an Open House on Monday, Nov. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Parents will have the opportunity to tour the campuses and meet with administrators, teachers and staff. Admissions and financial assistance information will also be provided.
"The Brevard Catholic Schools Open House gives parents and their children the opportunity to see the vibrant campus life at any of the nine schools," said Dawn Melcher, Brevard and Volusia counties regional marketing director for the Diocese of Orlando Office of Catholic Schools. "Attendees will also learn about the many benefits of a Catholic education, including curriculum, enrichment programs, extracurricular activities and athletics."
Brevard County's nine Catholic schools include Melbourne Central Catholic High School in Melbourne, St. Joseph Catholic School in Palm Bay, Ascension Catholic School in Melbourne, Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School in Indialantic, Our Savior Catholic School in Cocoa Beach, Divine Mercy Catholic Academy on Merritt Island, St. Mary's Catholic School in Rockledge, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Melbourne and St. Teresa Catholic School in Titusville.
Both Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Teresa Catholic Schools will also host afternoon Open House hours on Monday, Nov. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m.
"The nurturing environment in which students are being educated makes a difference in the life and success of our students," Mrs. Melcher said. "Dedicated teachers are not only teaching core subjects, but they are leading by example and helping to develop students intellectually, morally and spiritually. The core curriculum is enhanced with fine arts, religion, foreign language, computer science and physical education."
Catholic school students have the opportunity to participate in a range of extracurricular activities, including honor societies, clubs and athletics. Students also regularly participate in community service projects and are equipped with modern learning tools, such as tablets, computers and laptops.
In addition growing in their faith by participating in religion coursework, Mrs. Melcher said that Catholic school students attend weekly mass.
"A Catholic education provides an environment that is conducive to success in not just academic proficiency, but also in spiritual, physical and social development," Mrs. Melcher said.
One major bonus about a Catholic school education is the small class sizes.
"Our schools' low teacher-to-student ratio enables individualized attention in an environment that encourages students to excel," Mrs. Melcher said.
In second through eighth grade, Catholic school students take the IOWA Test of Basic Skills, which is a comprehensive skills test to measure a student's skills and achievement in core subject areas compared to their peers on a national level and provides an in-depth measure of important educational objectives.
"The IOWA Test of Basic Skills serves to offer educators a diagnostic view of how their students' skills are progressing in key academic areas and about their ability to think critically," Mrs. Melcher added.
Adhering to the Common Core state standards, Brevard County Catholic school teachers challenge their students to develop to their full potential and emerge with the problem-solving and leadership skills needed for success in college and career.
According to a recent Schools and Staffing Survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, Catholic high school graduates are more likely to attend college.
"Students at Melbourne Central Catholic High school are able to adjust their curriculum to maximize their strengths and build their emerging skills," Mrs. Melcher said. "MCC offers 33 honors courses and 14 Advanced Placement classes, as well as a partnership with Florida Tech, which allows MCC students to access classes at the university as part of an Honors Dipoma."
MCC students also receive personalized college placement counseling, resulting in 100 percent college acceptance and an astounding scholarship rate.
"Over the past two years, MCC grads have earned $11 million in college scholarships," Mrs. Melcher said. "Personal attention in the classroom is also a big benefit, as the student-to-teacher ratio is 12 to one."
Brevard County Catholic schools also offer its students access to a wide range of organized sports at each grade level.
"The elementary schools offer an inclusive and comprehensive athletics program through the middle school Catholic Coastal League," Mrs. Melcher said. "More than 90 percent of Brevard Catholic School students participate in sports, which helps to bring balance to their academic life."
The Catholic Coastal League hosts soccer, volleyball, flag football, basketball, softball and a track meet for middle school students, while some of the individual schools offer golf and swim teams. The eight elementary schools along with St. Helen's Catholic School in Vero Beach participate in the league and compete against one another.
Kindergarten through sixth-grade students are able to participate in soccer and basketball through the Catholic Youth League, which also hosts a track meet for all schools in grades 1-4.
"Our athletic program provides a Christ-centered atmosphere that helps foster sportsmanship, self-discipline, respect for others and physical fitness as students learn the value of teamwork and develop leadership skills," Mrs. Melcher said. "The program also gives students in every grade the opportunity to participate in organized sports directly for their respective school instead of having to join a team through their city or other organization."
The Brevard Catholic Schools, which also offer Pre-K3 and VPK-4 classes, are excited to showcase all of the wonderful opportunities it has to offer parents and their children.
"By visiting our Catholic Schools Open House, parents and their children will have the opportunity to experience the special community the embodies each school and the welcoming and loving environment each school is built on," Mrs. Melcher said.
The Brevard Catholic Schools will host an Open House on Monday, Nov. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with St. Teresa Catholic School and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School offering evening hours from 5 to 7 p.m. No R.S.V.P. is required.
For more information, visit www.BrevardCatholicSchools.org.
Brevard Catholic Schools Open House hours and locations:
Monday, Nov. 11, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
St. Joseph Catholic School... 5320 Babcock St. N.E., Palm Bay
Ascension Catholic School: 2950 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne
Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School: 3060 N. Highway A1A, Indialantic
Our Savior Catholic School: 5301 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach
Divine Mercy Catholic Academy: 1940 N. Courtenay Parkway, Merritt Island
St. Mary's Catholic School: 1152 S. Seminole Dr., Rockledge
Melbourne Central Catholic High School: 100 E. Florida Ave., Melbourne
Monday, Nov. 11, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School: 420 E. Fee Ave., Melbourne
St. Teresa Catholic School: 207 Ojibway Ave., Titusville