Back in February, I posted on the apparent demise of Brooklyn's Nazareth Regional High School, my alma mater. The reasons for the board's decision to close the Xaverian Brothers-sponsored school were depressingly familiar: declining enrollment and rising debt.A few days later, I noted reports that the school was being flooded with offers of financial aid and asked: Is it possible?The answer, as it turned out, was yes. The school announced this week that it has succeeded in gaining both the enrollment and financing to remain open. It's a remarkable story.It seems to me that news of the school's plan to close brought a flood of publicity about the school's many virtues. The school, with an entirely minority student population, graduates just about all of its students and sends them to college. It has some very good programs in technology and preparation for careers in health. And it just has the buzz of a good Catholic school - friendly, respectful relations between teachers and students, good discipline and a religiously based sense of mission.For a number of years, I served on the board (but not for the past few years, so I'm not privy to the current decision-making). I felt we were never able to get the word out about the school. There was little money available for advertising or public relations. When the word finally got out, it made a difference.If there is a lesson for Catholic education in the Nazareth saga, I think it's that the word needs to get out about what makes it special and why it's worth saving.
Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).