It might be time for us to all to facilitate a school run by students in our local communities
In 1967 St. Benedict’s Preparatory School faced closure amongst the racial, and economic turmoil surrounding it. Fast forward nearly five decades later and the inner city school, where most students come from low-economic backgrounds, is now flourishing. That near closure is now only but a memory. In 1972, there was solid talk of closing the school down. It was closed for one year, before former student Edwin Leahy, then aged 26, decided to make one last attempt for success by turning into a school run by students.
At the time, Benedictine monk Edwin Leahy decided to put the students in charge of the school. He used the Boy Scouts Guide as the guide book.
Now, at this school, the students run the majority of the programs. The school run by students allows student groups to set schedules and coordinate events. If one student is missing, and the parents are unaware of that student is, it isn’t unusual for a group of students to go out searching for their fellow pupil, because they all see it as their responsibility to ensure that their fellow students have every chance of being successful.
There is one particular affirmation that continues to drive the success of this school run by students; “You can be… go and conquer.” The school revolves around the students leading themselves to success; they refer to each other as brothers, their support for each other goes beyond school, but into daily life. Bad decisions, in the process are accepted. Leahy states “That’s a better learning experience.”
How much does it cost?
The $12,000 per annum school fee is steep, but it is reported that 80 percent of the attendees end up paying only half. The school year runs for a total of 11 months and the philosophy is one o gang mentality – but in a positive light.
Leahy believes it is education that saves lives, and this education forces the students to closely examine the type of person they want to be. This just goes to show the importance of the right education. This school is not only equipping their students to thrive academically but they are giving them life skills and experiences to make them all around better human beings.
The private all-boys school run by students has a 98 percent graduation rate and more than 90 percent of them end up going to college. Those who have nowhere else to go, who still want an education, have a place on the monastery grounds until they graduate. It’s hard to tell how much of a role religion plays in the discipline and focus of the students but it just goes to show, if we want to educate our children properly, then we can take matters into our own hands.