Another way Cathedral Prep School is helping incoming freshman is through a new academic support initiative called the St. John Vianney Program. Launched this July as part the Father Troike Summer Leadership Program, about half of the incoming class of ninth graders will receive extra academic support.
Principal Richie Diaz said that the idea for the program came after two years of noticing that some incoming students needed a better foundation in math, English and other subjects.
“We were getting students whose biggest struggle was homework,” Diaz said. “We came to realize that they weren’t not doing homework because they didn’t care. They’ve just missed very foundational lessons somewhere in the years before us about writing homework down, about what it means to study in a quiet environment.”
In its first year, eighth graders participating in the Troike Summer Program were divided into two sections: Honors and Vianney. The Vianney Program will go on to support the specific academic needs of the Class of 2019 and beyond.
Mario Alejandro Olmedo, who will be joining Cathedral in the fall, said the Vianney Program helped him improve his grammar, which he had not been able to learn when transferring middle schools.
“We didn’t go over it,” he said, “I had to wing it.”
He added that he liked the small number of students in the Vianney section of the Troike Program and that the friendly teachers made him look forward to joining the school that he will be attending for the next four years.
“Everybody is welcomed and here nobody is going to get discriminated (against),” he said.
The program is named after St. John Vianney, who struggled with academics as a seminarian and later became known as one of the greatest confessors of the Church.
“John Vianney is an inspiration to many because he did have a weakness and he was able to overcome that. That is what this program is all about,” said Father James Kuroly, assistant principal, who has been working to implement the new initiative.
To help students succeed, math and English teachers will coordinate the program and meet with students to track their progress.
“The two biggest strengths that we have at Cathedral is that we are challenging our students and supporting our students,” Diaz said. “The Vianney program is just another way where we have individualized attention to meet students where they are and to push each individual student to reach his potential.”