Jul 23, 2013 6:27 PM by Chris Welty
In a few short weeks, thousands of students across Acadiana will head back to the classroom.
New numbers from the National Catholic Educational Association show enrollment in Catholic schools is down 18 percent statewide in the past decade.
The decrease in enrollment is even higher nationwide topping 23 percent. Those decreases are blamed on higher tuition, the growth of magnet and charter schools and geographic shifts.
In the Lafayette Diocese, enrollment has gone up by nearly one hundred students.
Sixteen students are on the waiting list to attend Saint Thomas More Catholic High School. Principal Richard Lavergne says waiting lists are common across the diocese and he believes there are a number of reasons why schools are at capacity.
"With the economy strong, the job market still alive here, economic development in the area, we look for good things still in Acadiana."
Lavergne says Acadiana's strong Catholic roots and school traditions attract parents to enroll in Catholic schools.
Kelly Courville was brought up in the Catholic school system and agrees with Lavergne. She has two kids and wants them to have the same experience.
"I wanted the opportunity for them to talk about Jesus, be reminded that Jesus is important in their lives all day long. That's what we'd be doing at home and I wanted them to get that at school."
Courville says the rigorous curriculum and strict discipline policies are two reasons why she sends her kids to Catholic schools.
"The teachers can pull the kids together and pull them back to their foundation of faith. They can have those expectations because they can be kicked out of that school."