Diaz praises Leader in Me program to Perry Kiwanis Club

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Eddie Diaz, left, principal of St. Patrick's School in Perry, was welcomed to the meeting of the Perry Kiwanis Club by eight-year Kiwanian Anne McDevitt. Photo courtesy Perry Kiwanis Secretary Doug Wood.

St. Patrick’s Catholic School has been a fixture in Perry since 1914. Principal Eddie Diaz stopped by the weekly luncheon meeting of the Perry Kiwanis Club to give an update on the activities in the school.

Diaz said his passion is the Leader in Me program. This program is in its first phase at St. Pat’s and is based on the late Stephen Covey’s book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” The first phase is called being proactive and has the strong support of the staff, Diaz said.

He said that he had trouble finding funding for the Leader in Me program. It is much easier to obtain grants for such things as computers, Diaz said, but getting support for a program is much more difficult.

Diaz did run into an unexpected donor and is happy with the results so far of this program.

Diaz discussed other programs offered at St. Patrick’s School, such as the Enrichment Club, Spanish Club, Journalism, which includes a yearbook, and the Mock Trial Team, with plans for a Student Council.

St. Patrick’s School has an enrollment of 115 students this year. Diaz said he was at first disappointed because enrollment was down compared to the previous two years, but he came to realize that the previous two years had record attendance for the school.

Diaz stated that there is a belief among some people that St. Patrick’s School is elitist and flush with money. He stated that this is not true. He stated that 30 percent of the students are non-Catholic, and 50 percent of the students are non-white.

Diaz stated that it costs $8,000 a year to educate each student. Tuition for Catholics is $2,000 and higher for non-Catholics. The Dioceses makes up the difference.

“Tuition actually start closer to $2,800 for Catholic families with one student,” Diaz said. “It goes up depending on how many students and their Catholic background. It can get a little cumbersome to explain. The point is tuition alone does not cover the cost of educating a child at St Patrick School.”

Diaz stated that although enrollment is down, some collection of tuition is up. In the past there has been a problem collecting tuition, but during this year there has been a plan in place to better collect this.

Diaz stated he is excited about the rest of the year. He thanked the Kiwanis Club, which donated to the Light Up the Night Fundraiser held by St. Patrick’s School. More than $10,000 was raised.

Welcoming Diaz to the Tuesday meeting was eight-year Perry Kiwanian Anne McDevitt.

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