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Trinity principal gives “State of the School” presentation

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MASSENA - Trinity Catholic School Principal Kathy Behrens said their school has a lot to offer. She just wishes more families would take advantage of it.

Ms. Behrens gave her “State of the School” to families this week, explaining where Trinity is and where they hoped to head in the future - but higher enrollment numbers are a part of the equation.

“One thing I know we can do to make it work even better is build our enrollment. The more children we have in here, the more the tuition can remain at a reasonable rate,” she said.

She said the cost to educate Trinity students is $4,929 per pupil, and the tuition rate is $2,900 per student, leaving $2,209 to be covered by other income and parish aid in their budget of $916,889. The Sacred Heart/St. Lawrence parish and St. Mary’s/St. Joseph’s parishes contribute $357,269, which amounts to $1,630 per student applied to the per pupil cost.

“I see the sacrifices you are making because you believe in Catholic education,” she told parents. “If all of us could get one more family to come to our school, it would be helpful. Our class sizes can handle getting bigger.”

But Ms. Behrens said it’s more than just about money. It’s also important to put God in the community to try and try and deal with some of the issues currently facing Massena.

“How can they not afford Trinity? Yes, it’s about money, but it’s more about having God in our community. The message I’m trying to get out is we’re needed in our community. We have to bring God back to the center of our lives,” she said.

Expressions of their faith are a big part of the curriculum at Trinity, Ms. Behrens said.

“I see children going to church every Friday and their responses are getting more enthusiastic every week they go there. I see children praying the rosary for their classmates because they might be sick. I see a wonderful celebration of the Eucharist. I see a continued wonderful and beautiful faith tradition,” she said.

“I also see how our children get out in the community and spread the good word when they go visit the nursing home” or participate in other community activities, Ms. Behrens said.

She said she also gets to see “all the wonderful learning that is going on,” with teachers constantly focused on how they can help students.

“I see wonderful students and their smiling faces, eager to learn. I walk in and see how happy they are,” Ms. Behrens said.

And, she said, she sees parents coming into the school on a regular basis so they can also be a part of their children’s education.

Trinity has much to offer its students, according to Ms. Behrens, who spent 20 years in the classroom before being named principal this year. Tops on that list is the educational value, she said.

When it comes to state assessments for math and English language arts, for instance, she said they stand above the crowd, with their students outscoring others in the Diocese of Ogdensburg, the Massena Central School District and the state from 2008 to the present.

The Rev. Donald Manfred, pastor of the Sacred Heart/St. Lawrence Parish, said he consistently sees names of Trinity alumni on high honor rolls and honor rolls after they graduate from Trinity.

“They’re consistently on the honor and high honor over and over again,” he said.

Many of those students also go on to become valedictorian or salutatorian of their class in high school.

Trinity students are also active in extracurricular activities at school, which they carry on with after graduation from Trinity. The school currently offers programs such as basketball, Yearbook Club and Robotics.

“Wait until you see that yearbook. The sixth graders came up with some of the ideas on their own,” Ms. Behrens said.

Once students leave Trinity and head to the junior high and high schools, they continue to participate in activities such as sports and spring productions, the Rev. Manfred said.

“I see Trinity participating in all of these extracurricular activities,” he said. “I really think that needs to be part of our drum roll.”

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