Doors are wide open again this fall for St. Anthony Catholic School, now registering on the Westside with special outreach for grades K-4.
Long-time community advocate and current chair of the school's fundraising committee, Ms. Lois Carson said that they are scheduled to open in September
and recruiting at the school under the July 1 deadline. Depending on local demand for seats, she said that they may extend the recruitment further out. The school is located at 1510 West 16th Street in San Bernardino.
“We’re looking for people who want a Catholic education for their children,” she said. “With others, if we are able to sell them on a quality education, we are recruiting those parents.”
The cost is $300 a month, and the school is waiving the registration fee. Some scholarships are available for low-income students, or some in the Parish will adopt a family with partial scholarships.
But, she noted, every family is expected to pay something.
“I know it’s moral education, religious education, but I think also it’s having to pay something for what you get,” she said. “You have more value with it.”
Coming from a family of seven siblings in Memphis, Tennessee, Ms. Carson said that growing up, her family was very poor, but managed to pay school tuition for the entire family. Her own mother worked overtime, a sacrifice for education common throughout the south where many Black families sent their children to Catholic School.
Being Catholic is not a requirement to attend St. Anthony School, and Ms. Carson believes the school provides some of the best education around. Surveys also show that people who attend Catholic school are more likely to attend college and become high earning professionals, she said.
Last year, the Diocese ordered St. Anthony School closed, but she and several others fought that decision. Finally, the Bishop agreed to let the school stay open this year.
With that same determination, the Parish school started some 60 years ago when Mrs. Carson and her husband, one of two families of young parents, helped develop the facility under Father Paul Hatch, the church priest.
“We were there and those things we could do to assist the contractor, we did them,” she said. “The women worked in the convent sanding and other things that volunteers could do.”
In large part, being Catholic combined with growing up in the south helped mold her vision of social justice.
She recalls back on “Bloody Sunday” 1965 in Selma, Alabama when hundreds of African Americans were beaten back with clubs and tear gas trying to cross Edmund Pettus Bridge in the civil rights march around the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. The only hospital that would take the wounded was the local Catholic hospital.
Ms. Carson and a nun went around to parishes to try to raise money to help pay for the cost of medical care for those injured in that march. One priest told them that they couldn’t do that.
Most of the time, everyone concurs with the rules, but she said that every once in a while they make an independent call.
“But Sister and I decided we were going to do it anyway, and we did,” she said. “You have to think about the people who are in need.”
For information on St. Anthony registration, call (909) 887-5413.