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WHAT WE THINK: Look locally for all your needs, including education

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While we are certainly glad to hear that Corpus Christi has raised enough money and will remain open, we wonder why our local private schools have struggled to maintain a vibrant and strong population in recent years.

Our churches never seem to struggle for members or volunteers, and our community has always had a strong attachment to its faith.

But it seems as though many students in our county are sent west to Louisville parochial schools, but why?

What would make a parent travel 30 miles or more for a high school education?

Are they sent into Louisville to St. Xavier, Sacred Heart, Trinity, Presentation or others for the religious aspect?

If so, we dare anyone to find a group more dedicated to supporting a spiritual path than those at Cornerstone Christian Academy. And if it’s a Catholic education parents are in search of, then how could you get more in-line with faith than those at Corpus Christi?

Yes, it’s true the Louisville Archdiocese does not financially support the small Simpsonville school, but doesn’t that show an even greater commitment? They have had a former Archbishop out to dedicate a sanctuary, giving it the distinction as the only place in Simpsonville that can hold mass. The curriculum includes the ideals and principals of Catholicism, but it is also open to those of other faiths.

It seems to us that religious needs could be met here. Much like the push to purchase local and eat local, does it not seem that we should also support our local private schools?

Perhaps those that choose so are sending their children to Louisville private schools for better educational opportunities.

If so, we would never go against a parent’s wish to provide the best opportunities they can for their children.

However, we would be remiss if we did not mention that two Shelby County High School students were recently selected for the prestigious Gatton Academy of Math and Science at Western Kentucky University.

Nolan Hughes and Emma Saarinen, both sophomores at SCHS, were deemed worthy to spend their final two years of school among the state’s brightest. Only 59 students were selected to join the class of 2016.

Miss Saarinen is the second in her family, following in the footsteps of her brother Sam Saarinen.

Students from Shelby County have been admitted to and attended some of the best colleges in the country – including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and many others.

In fact, those looking for a rigorous, difficult and challenging curriculum for their children should look no further than our own high schools.

With the addition of the Accelerated Academy, now in it’s third year, students take 17 Advanced Placement courses, Project Lead the Way courses in engineering or biomedical science along with their regular required courses. And with a zero-hour course, they begin the day with a class before the rest of the students even get to school.

The curriculum is demanding, but students can earn dozens of hours of college credit, giving them a jumpstart on their college careers.

And students don’t have to wait until high school to get ahead. Those identified as able are allowed to take math classes ahead of the grade level. In fact, some students have started high school math classes early in their middle school careers.

And our private schools offer small class sizes for more one-on-one attention for each student.

Enrichment in Shelby County has not been left behind.

So that brings us back to our original question, why travel west?

There certainly could be other reasons – family legacy, transportation, scholarship, etc. – but we urge those that are sending their children to Louisville for private school to look closely at what Shelby County has to offer.

Just as we would first try to shop locally for our food, clothing and services, we should first try to support our local schools.