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Possibility and Opportunity in Tandem: Clearwater Central Catholic High School

By Kelly Church

Clearwater Central Catholic High School is a Clearwater, FL private, co-ed college preparatory high school that prides itself on being the place "where possibility and opportunity meet." The school focuses on encouraging students to be well-rounded individuals "with the ideals of 'minds for truth, hearts for love, and hands for service'." The high school has been open since 1962, and with high academic standards, their student body has consistently scored higher than the national and state averages for the SAT and ACT exams. Beth Lani, Assistant Director of Advancement for Clearwater Central Catholic High School, says the benefit of attending a Catholic high school is a greater amount of attention dedicated to each student's achievements.

"Every student in our school is expected to achieve and with a national student/teacher ratio of 14:1, teachers are able to devote themselves to working with students of varied abilities," Lani says. "The national Catholic high school graduation rate is 99.4% and 84.9% go on to college, compared to 39.5% of public school graduates."

Academics at Clearwater Central Catholic High School are goal-oriented, laying out for each student what is expected from each lesson and what the main take-aways are. They offer a variety of Advanced Placement courses for their students: language and composition, literature, calculus, environmental science, biology, government, geography and Spanish. In addition, CCC is the only private high school in the area that offers the International Baccalaureate IB Program. This program has all of the same requirements as the traditional educational program, but adds international understanding and responsible citizenship into the mix. There are specific criteria in order for students to be a part of the school's baccalaureate program.

"Rather than being segregated from the rest of the student body, students in the IB Program are fully integrated into student life at Clearwater Central Catholic High School participating in student council, athletics, clubs and other activities," says Lani.

Integration of all students is a major aspect of Clearwater Central Catholic High School. Apart from welcoming students of all faiths, they also place an increased focus on campus life by encouraging involvement in honor societies, student government, community service, clubs and events. They even have an award-winning theatre program called The Central Stage. Additionally, on-campus services are provided to help students connect with each other and deal with the hardships of teenage life.

"Our school counselors work closely with students to help them meet the academic and personal challenges of high school, identify their own strengths and weaknesses, and make sound decisions about their futures," says Lani. "Students work with the same school counselor throughout their four years at CCC. In Catholic schools, there is a mutual respect among students, faculty and administrators which generates an atmosphere of care and concern."

Tuition assistance is available. They also accept Step Up for Student Scholarships and McKay Scholarships. For more information about financial assistance and more, please check out their website at www.ccchs.org.

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