By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN It was welcome news to both the Holy Trinity education committee and the administrative council when they recently learned Holy Trinity’s school enrollment is on the rise.
The increase in student numbers for this school year is being attributed to the enrollment enrichment plan that was put in place in April.
The plan was initiated by church and school leaders as a way to try to end the trend of declining enrollment that has been plaguing the school for the last decade.
So far, for the school year 2011-12, there are 26 students who are taking advantage of the plan, which gives them free tuition at Holy Trinity this year, and half-price tuition next year.
The overall total enrollment numbers for the upcoming school year are already looking good to staff and teachers, and according to elementary Principal Cathy Millerbernd, the numbers usually spike the last couple of weeks before school starts.
Currently, there is a total student enrollment for pre-k through 12th grade of 245. That’s an increase of 18 students compared to last year.
The new students are coming from 11 different communities, making it a total of 22 communities now served by Holy Trinity School.
A breakdown of the student population for the 2011-12 school year includes:
• Tiny Trojans 20
• kindergarten 16
• elementary 87
• high school 122
Scholarships are limited, but are still available on a first-come basis for students in first through 12th grade.
It was agreed that the school has the capacity and staff to educate and enrich the lives of 35 more students without increasing education costs or resources.
The enrollment enrichment plan offers any new (or former) student in first through 12th grade, who attends Holy Trinity School for the school year of 2011-12, to have the entire cost of the first year of their tuition waived, as well as half the cost of tuition for the school year of 2012-13.
The same offer will be made next year.
Angie Hertel, Holy Trinity development and marketing director, said, “I think we have seen really positive results from the plan and we are happy with that. We are excited for new families to join us and find out what Holy Trinity is all about.”
“It’s also exciting because we are close to reaching our original goal and we are running the program for two years, so this is just the first year. Hopefully, next year we will achieve our goal,” Hertel said.
Another part of the plan includes additional child care. Besides the after-school child care that has been offered in the past, starting this school year, there will be before- school child care, from 6 a.m. until the start of the school; and after-preschool child care, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., when school is in session.
The Holy Trinity Child Care Center is a service to families enrolled at Holy Trinity School who are in preschool through sixth grade (ages 3 to 12).
Drop-in child care is subject to space available and 24 hour advance notice.
Tiffany Meuleners has been hired as the new director of the child care center. She has an extensive background in childcare and early childhood development.
She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Stout, with a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education.
“As our new director, Tiffany brings a great deal of experience to our Holy Trinity Child Care Center. She worked for many years as the teacher and director of Waconia Nursery School and as a lead teacher with the St. Croix Valley YMCA,” Millerbernd said.
A second phase of the day care program is slated to begin the summer of 2012, for families that might be interested in day care full time.
To contact Meuleners, call (320) 2182 ext. 2153, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another benefit being offered through the enrollment enrichment plan for current students is a $300 tuition credit for anyone who refers a new or former student to Holy Trinity. So far this year, four families have had their tuition credited because of referrals.
Also, beginning May 1, families that have their child baptized at Holy Trinity will be given a certificate to receive 50 percent off the cost of their tuition when enrolling their child in kindergarten.
Some of the new parents and students were asked why they have decided to send their children to Holy Trinity. The following are a few of the comments they shared with the Herald Journal:
Mark and Amy Burau of Winsted have a son, Brian, who will be a junior at Holy Trinity.
Amy said, “For years, most of Brian’s friends have been attending Holy Trinity. We want our children to have a full understanding of their faith and respect their studies. With the scholarship program, we were able to send Brian to a school that offers a Christian background, his friends, and an affordable education,” Amy said.
Brian Burau said he is looking forward to going on a mission trip next summer, and being active in basketball, Higher Ground, and other activities.
Robert and Beth Olson are moving to Winsted from Oklahoma and will be sending three of their children to Holy Trinity. Samantha will be a junior, Alex will be a freshman, and Amanda will be a seventh-grader.
“Robert and I chose Holy Trinity for our family because we felt that all of our children would benefit from the smaller class size, the close knit community feel, and excellent elective choices,” Beth said. “Our youngest daughter, Amanda, is looking forward to playing volleyball this fall; and our son, Alex, is looking forward to the manufacturing technology classes,” Beth said.
Aaron and Theresa Solomonson of Gaylord will be sending their son, Hunter, a sophomore this year, to Holy Trinity. They also plan to send their daughter to Tiny Trojans next year.
“We have long desired to send our kids to Holy Trinity School,” Theresa said. “After touring the school, we knew for sure that this was where we wanted our kids to be educated. We were really impressed with the wide variety of classes, to learn about the close-knit community of families, as well as the wonderful hospitality we enjoyed during our tour of the school,” Theresa said. “Holy Trinity’s Christ-centered education will offer so much by helping prepare our kids to make a positive contribution to our world,” Theresa said.
Hunter Solomonson said, “I am excited about building new friendships that will encourage my relationship with God. I look forward to taking part and helping out with the Higher Ground fundraiser, as well as many experiences you don’t have at public school. I am glad my parents have chosen Holy Trinity School.”
All of the new families will be invited to a family welcome and orientation from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17.
“They will be invited to tour the school again, look at their classrooms, and we will have families who will be mentors, to help make them feel more comfortable,” Hertel said.
In a parent survey, one of the things that parents were most appreciative of is the faith aspect for their children, according to Hertel.
“Going to Mass, participating in the sacraments, and religion classes and daily prayer;” Hertel said, “that’s something families liked about Holy Trinity and I am excited for more people to experience it.”
(Holy Trinity enrollment enrichment plan is available for students in first through 12th grade, not in kindergarten through 12th grade which was stated in the original article Aug. 15.)