Parochial High Schools Offer Many Opportunities for Local Students



Staff Writer

WHEELING — Private institutions such as Central Catholic High School in Wheeling encourage families to take a deeper look at what they offer so an informed decision can be made about education.

John Yelenic, director of admissions at CCHS, is also the father of two Central graduates. He believes higher education is much more than providing a study guide, going over homework and providing a class assignment.

“When it comes to academia, many schools follow the same curriculum, but the implementation of that curriculum is where there is a difference. I truly believe that all schools work together to create a venue where learning is the priority for their students. What makes us different is our style of teaching,” said Yelenic.

Yelenic believes the education that students receive at Central is unique because with smaller class sizes, teachers may take the time to get to know students.

“Our administrators and teachers are very dedicated. They work collaboratively to discover what makes each student think independently. Rather than knowing that one plus one equals two, it’s knowing why one plus one equals two. We think kids should be able to understand their own learning style, look in the mirror and think, ‘This is how I learn and this is something I know I can do.'”

Yelenic knows some families are reluctant to look into religious institutions, but he encourages them to look more closely at the curriculum.

“Teaching religion and theology doesn’t replace something important in the daily schedule. It is usually made possible with extended time in the day and less study halls. We have theology classes, and some people think that we spend the time praying or talking all about God and yes, that’s there. Our schools welcome students and families from many different faith traditions. Since we teach people from so many backgrounds, we focus on developing an understanding of self in relation to God and an understanding of others by serving the community in which we live,” said Yelenic.

He also feels that tuition often keeps prospective students away but wants every student who desires a private, Catholic education to have the same opportunity as everyone else.

“We have a large tuition assistance program, so we encourage all families to apply. The diocese is very generous in supporting education. Many families count on these programs and we are grateful that we are able to provide them for our students and their families. Once families take a deeper look, they realize it is affordable,” said Yelenic.

Johnetta Yaegel, director of advancement for St. John Central High School, is confident in the faith-based curriculum at this private, Catholic high school in Bellaire.

“We have an integration of God into every aspect of our entire process here at school. We pray before and after games. When it comes to testing, they pray before their test, so God is the center of our school. We’ve given our children the ability to have faith to know the difference between right and wrong,” said Yaegel.

She believes including a faith induced education system encourages children to make better personal decisions.

“When they learn to pray, they tend to make better life choices — the tough things. They feel more accountable for their actions, and they have a great amount of love for each other and compassion,” said Yaegel.

St. John’s takes part in not only helping fellow classmates, but also other schools. Students, staff and faculty have raised money for a student with cancer and donated almost 1,000 scarves, hats and mittens to local students.

“We’re not just a school, we are a family. Our kids learn that they are not first and they realize that not everyone’s life is a bowl of cherries, but they have faith and they have God,” said Yaegel.

This private institution offers religion classes and boasts teachers who Yaegel said put in extra effort to help students.

“Our teachers stay after lunch, they stay after school and they do anything it takes to make children succeed. They don’t have 30 or 40 kids in a classroom raising all kinds of heck. It’s a higher learning environment,” said Yaegel.

Although a private, religious education comes at a cost, St. John’s offers scholarships and, according to Yaegel, all students take part in assistance programs.

“A lot of people think a private school is expensive, but the truth is there are scholarships that are offered and I would say 100 percent of our children receive assistance,” she said.

Reduced tuition is also offered for families with multiple children, and Yaegel is confident any student can attend St. John Central High School.

“If you want your child to come here, we will find a way to make it happen,” Yaegel added.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today