Our Lady of the Rosary creates scholarship program for large families

Paul and Rebecca Strelow are one of 10 families that are currently able to send their children to Our Lady of the Rosary because of the family scholarships. (Photo provided)

GREENVILLE—The cost of sending kids to Catholic school can be daunting for large families, so leaders at Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville have come up with a way to make it a little easier. It’s called the Faithful Family Scholarship, a program which started five years ago and currently serves 125 students in K-4 through the upper grades. 

“Through Faithful Family, families with three or more children are able to attend Our Lady of the Rosary at a more affordable rate,” said Thomas Curtin, headmaster. 

It’s designed so parents only pay tuition for their two oldest children enrolled at the school. All younger children are charged only fees, which average about $565 a year, Curtin said. The program is only available for families who are active parishioners at Our Lady of the Rosary Church. 

Currently, 10 families at the school are enrolled in the program, although that number could rise as the new school year begins. 

“With this scholarship, we see families being able to attend our school who would not be there otherwise — their kids would be in public school or they would be homeschooled,” Curtin said. 

Father Dwight Longenecker, pastor, said he and members of the school’s advisory council discussed large Catholic families who could not afford tuition for all of their children.

“The Church believes that to have a lot of children is a great blessing, and we wanted to be able to encourage large families that wanted to take their faith seriously and send their children to Catholic school,” Father Longenecker said. 

Curtin said encouraging more large families to attend can also be good for the school as a whole. 

“For a lot of people today, education is a consumer choice,” Curtin said. “Every year, parents re-evaluate where their kids are and try to decide if those schools are the best decision for them.”

“When a family only has one or two children in a school, they are much more likely to make a change,” Curtin continued. “If they have more children enrolled, they become anchored at that school and more committed, and often begin to think of the school as a home. Those large families are a very stabilizing presence in the school community.” 

Paul and Rebecca Strelow homeschooled their two older children for years before deciding to send them to Our Lady of the Rosary. They were wondering where the youngest three would go until they learned about Faithful Family.

“We could not have sent our third child without it, and it’s what will allow us to send our two youngest to Our Lady of the Rosary before long,” Mrs. Strelow said. “This scholarship basically means that all our kids can go to Catholic school, and at the same time we know we’re supporting the school and its mission, which is putting faith first.”