Cardinal Newman exceeds expectations

COLUMBIA — “Forming Lives of Excellence in the Catholic Tradition” is the mission statement of Cardinal Newman High School, and with the implementation of such a mission comes success in areas both tangible and intangible.

One positive result of putting Catholic values in the forefront of education is that more families are now turning to Cardinal Newman High School as an alternative to private and public schools where the Gospel message is not as integrated into the curriculum and school experience.

In less than five years, Cardinal Newman has had a 10 percent increase in enrollment, with waiting lists for grades 7-11. The school has seen a 25 percent increase in the number of Catholic students, and the minority enrollment has gone up from 8 percent to 12 percent. Principal Jim McIntyre is pleased with the fact that people are turning to Cardinal Newman, and he is dedicated to making the school “inclusive, not exclusive.” One way of making the school available to more families has been to keep tuition lower than the majority of other private high schools.

“My son’s experience attending CN has exceeded my expectations,” said Susan Kantra, a parishioner at Corpus Christi Church in Lexington whose son recently transferred to the school. “It encompasses both academic and spiritual training in a complete way and teaches discipline and respect among the student body and faculty, which is sadly lacking in other school systems.”

With a long history of excellence dating back to 1859, Cardinal Newman continues to have all of the indicators of a quality school. Last year the senior class of 52 students collectively received 1.5 million dollars in college scholarships. Average SAT scores have gone up 40 points since 2001. The students’ consistently high academic performance, solid athletic and art/music programs continue to illustrate how Cardinal Newman helps students develop their God-given talents.

McIntyre, however, is more concerned with the successes that are not easily measured, such as learning how to live the Gospel message.

“In our daily lives, we are more likely to be confronted with an ethical problem than a calculus problem,” said the principal, who wants his students to be prepared with the right answer.

“Our tradition [in Catholic education] is to measure our success by what and who these young men and women become for those around them: the power of one. Devoted members of a faith community, dedicated spouses and parents, men and women of honor and integrity, people who seek to serve rather than be served — these are the benchmarks of our success in raising them and their success as stewards of God’s greatest gifts,” McIntyre said during a parent-teacher meeting in May.

For centuries, Catholic schools have shown that putting faith first works. McIntyre believes that the Catholic values taught at Cardinal Newman are faith values the students can fall back on when it comes to making difficult ethical decisions. The school will not only prepare the students for admission to college, should they choose to go, but will give them the skills to complete life’s greater tests.