Alumni play key roles

As teenagers, many of us look forward to being freed from our bonds to our alma maters. But as we age and grow wiser, some of us become sentimental about our old schools and do what we can to help.

Alumni play a big role in advancing the missions of high schools and colleges. They contribute to the financial well-being of their former schools, and sometimes they play active roles in clubs, programs and projects.

Those efforts become obvious at ths time of year, when alumni organizations hand out scholarships and awards to new graduates. We have seen that occur recently, in St. Clairsville and Harrison County as well as in other local school districts.

Alumni have played an even more critical role in the future of education in Bellaire, where the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville decided to close both St. John Central High School and St. John Grade School. Those past graduates were not able to change the minds of diocesan officials, but they were able to establish a new, private St. John Academy that will not be affiliated with the diocese but will occupy the same building as the old high school.

Bigger is not always better in education, especially when it comes to elementary-level students. So it is unfortunate that the diocese has made the decision to close St. John Grade School. Financial challenges and low enrollment were cited as the reason.

Could alumni also save the grade school? That could prove difficult, especially in view of the fact that those behind the high school-level academy already have tapped some of the potential financial support for such endeavors.

Is attempting to save St. John Grade School worth consideration, however?

Yes. Keeping the school open simply may not prove to be feasible. But no one will ever know unless some effort is made.

We urge St. John alums to make the effort. We also encourage alumni of all local schools to get involved with their alma maters.