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Prayer, Truth and Trust Led to Catholic School Gains in Greenville

Prayer, Truth and Trust Led to Catholic School Gains in Greenville

It is an understatement to suggest that it is difficult for Catholic parents to find a holy learning environment where their child can grow in faith and virtue free from secular pressures.

National trends suggest that parents are motivated to combat this issue by choosing religious schools or to homeschool. Some Catholic parents are even willing to relocate their families across the country to find communities that respect and nurture truth.

This has been the story of Our Lady of the Rosary School, located in Greenville. Even during a pandemic, the enrollment has skyrocketed.

In 2020, the school had 135 students in K4-12th grade. Today, 215 students are enrolled in the school and by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, OLR expects 240 students, with a cap at 280.

Principal Thomas Curtin attributes this exponential growth to prayer and the classical model of learning that the school provides.

In April of 2021, the school community prayed a novena to Our Lady of Good Counsel for parents across the nation seeking an authentic Catholic education and culture for their child. The fruits of this effort cannot be missed, as families from 11 different states moved to Greenville to send their students to OLR.

As a parochial school in the Diocese of Charleston, OLR focuses on the faithful execution of their mission — to foster a love for truth, beauty, and goodness and to form disciples of Jesus Christ so that they realize their full potential by living in accordance with truth.

“A Catholic identity is the bare minimum. We strive to cultivate a Catholic culture”, Curtin said. “It is a losing battle if Catholic schools do not promote a Catholic culture.”

That is why 100 percent of faculty and staff are practicing Catholics and 91 percent of the student body come from Catholic homes.

The school recognizes that parents play the most essential role and as the primary educators for their children.

“We are not here to do the parents’ job,” Curtin stated.

For this reason, OLR promotes the traditional role of family life as one of its core elements and empowers parents to lead their families in academic and spiritual success.

Madelyn Anders is a sophomore at the school.

“I am the oldest of eight kids, and all of my siblings will attend OLR because of how faith-driven and student-driven the school is,” she said. “I love how teachers give us the independence to lead and direct activities such as student government and theatre.”

The classical model of learning can be understood in terms of the parable of the sower and the seed. What good is it for seeds to be scattered on barren ground? Or if the soil is not rich? You can have the best students but if home life is not positive and the classroom is not centered on truth, the soil is not rich.

“As Christians, we believe that truth is fundamentally one person — that is Jesus Christ,” Curtin said. “As such, truth and tradition cannot be fragmented and must be incorporated into the entire curriculum.”

This rigorous classical training, which is centered on Christ and transcendentalism, draws out the natural desire of students to seek wisdom and virtue.

Instead of marketing special programs, test scores, state championships and college acceptance rates, OLR focuses on the “unmeasurable” — how to stay Catholic in our toxic culture, encounter the divine, grow in personal relationship with Jesus and be joyful stewards of the faith. College and career readiness are by-products of the school’s primary focus on preparing students to be productive and prayerful citizens in the real world.

“What I love about OLR is that the teachers focus on forming the whole individual — in body, mind and spirit,” according to senior Kacie Commerford, “which is why I am confident that my time at OLR has prepared me to enter a college campus as an apologist for my faith.”

This forming of the whole person directly reflects why Our Lady of the Rosary and the classical model of education continue to experience tremendous growth.