Stritch, Waite provide expansion of services for students

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Cardinal Stritch High School has been through quite a change in the last several months, according to Bill Berry, president of the school.
        “There is a new principal, new dean of students, new assistant principal and many new teachers who have joined us over the last year,” he said. “The demographics have changed dramatically. Maybe, 10-15 years ago, demographically, we only had one or two percent minorities. As of today, we’re in the high 40 percent. So our mission had to completely change.”
        Berry made the comments earlier this year in a speech during the annual “State of the Communities” event sponsored by the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Holistic approach
        The high school recently agreed to a partnership with Northwest Ohio Dental to provide free dental care to nearly 80 children. “So our mission isn’t just basic education. It’s a holistic approach to education,” said Berry.
        The school has introduced a lot more programs, he added. It has partnered with Rosetta Stone, a language learning platform. “We struggle, just like the others, to find good foreign language teachers. I know not only our students, but some of their families, are able to avail themselves of nearly 25 languages, which is an excellent way of actually providing more availability to foreign languages.”
        He also noted the importance of professional development for teachers.
        “That has always been a big thing. Your main asset is your people. This year, we have utilized a lot of funds for ongoing learning for teachers. That has been a big boost to their morale, and obviously to their way of looking at things,” he said.
        Sports is also important. Being a rugby player, he said he was not a huge fan of football.
        “But I appreciate it, and what it means to our community. We have no intentions strategically of competing with the other five large Catholic schools in Northwest Ohio. We tend to be small, family oriented and focused,” he said.
        The school also plans to partner with other organizations in the future to save funds.
        “We know we cannot afford it,” he said. “But we live and die by the generous donations of alumni and others in the community. Please watch out for both academic and vocational as well,” he said.
Waite High School
        This year, according to Todd Deem, principal of Waite High School, “has definitely been a better school year.”
        “The 963 students we have on a daily basis has some resiliency. We’re getting back to the old normal rather than the new normal. Things are better,” said Deem.
         There have been some challenges, he added, just like other schools.
        “We still have to focus on the trauma, as far as social and emotional well-being, and academics. So how do you balance all those things? We’re fortunate to have partnerships with Health Partners of Western Ohio. We have a complete health center in our building,” said Deem. “There’s nurse practitioners, RNs, and we just added a dentist to the system. Optical is coming next. It’s a great opportunity for our students, families, parents and any elementary student in our area, to come over to Waite High School and get the services they need.”
        He said he is pleased to see more students coming back to the school building.
        “There’s an increase in students leaving our `virtual world,’ and coming back to the brick-and-mortar of our building, which has increased participation in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and career tech programs. We have a phenomenal construction academy, and have done some expansion and modifications in that area, thanks to Owens-Corning, and the things they do for us as a partner.”
At the recent “State of the Communities” event sponsored by the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce, Waite High School Principal Todd Deem Waite High School, told audiences that 2022-23 has “definitely been a better school year.” (Press photo)


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