At a time when many Catholic schools are closing, Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, the oldest, continuously operating Catholic school in Brooklyn, is thriving.
This past week, Loughlin marked its 165th anniversary with an outdoor event to celebrated an ambitious capital campaign, which raised more than $12 million – well beyond its $10 million goal.
Students, teachers, parents, alumni and friends heard remarks from Brooklyn Borough president Eric L. Adams and a blessing from the Auxiliary Bishop James Massa.
The school’s prestigious Lionheart Award for outstanding service was presented to the two honorary co-chairs of the campaign: Michael Murray ’63, who is a member of the school’s board of governors, and Brother Peter Bonventre, F.S.C., who is marking 70 years as a Christian Brother and who continues to work in the school’s guidance department.
Loughlin has a reputation for sending the vast majority of its graduates to college. Ninety-nine percent of its students graduate and 97 percent go on to college. The average for New York City public schools is 65 percent.
Loughlin’s numbers would be impressive in any situation, but they are especially noteworthy for a small school in the heart of Brooklyn, whose student body is 98 percent black and Latino. Critics sometimes charge that successful private schools either don’t accept or expel low-performing students. Not so at Loughlin, which boasts an acceptance rate of 95 percent
“Of course we care about numbers,” said school president Brother Dennis Cronin, F.S.C., “because they are one indicator of success. But just one. As a Roman Catholic school in the LaSallian tradition, we strive to educate the whole person. Nearly all of our students perform well academically, and they also develop character, spirituality, and leadership skills that help them become productive adults and responsible citizens.”
The school’s ‘can do’ atmosphere of success and self-confidence has made its alumni fiercely loyal. One alum, Ja’ von Jones, Class of 2001, spoke at the event. Now an MBA candidate and chief of staff for Classroom, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization, Ms. Jones is a firm believer in giving back.
“Loughlin showed me what real success looks like,” she said. “It’s about instilling values, about providing opportunities and then mentoring students effectively so they can make the most of those opportunities. Loughlin did that for me and now I volunteer here so I can do that for today’s students.”
The infusion of capital has made it possible for Loughlin to enhance its academic programs. New this fall are biomedical science and engineering programs housed in a state-of-the-art laboratory facility that features 3D printers and the latest technology and equipment. The school has also added several AP courses, is renovating its sports facilities and created a vibrant new studio space for its art classes.