Catholic Schools Week is a national celebration of Catholic education, but don’t tell LaToya Jones of Jacksonville that it only lasts for one week.
Jones celebrates her school – St. Pius V Catholic School – on a daily basis.
The church rents its former convent to Jones, who lives with her three daughters two doors down from the school that has transformed their lives.
A year ago, the family was rocked by the loss of husband and father Lionel Jones, who died from complications of diabetes. Already struggling in a variety of neighborhood and private schools, the girls had a hard time coping.
At St. Pius, LaToya found a new home and a new home away from home, and her girls are thriving.
“It’s like our extended family,” LaToya said. “They help us out a lot. There’s always something going on, and the facilities are always open. It’s like a family away from home. They know my girls like their mom and grandma and auntie would. All the way down to the coach and janitor.”
Catholic schools have long provided more than just education to families like the Joneses. They strengthen communities for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Yet nationally, over the past decade, there has been a net loss of nearly 1,000 Catholic schools. Enrollment has shrunk by 17.6 percent. This represents lost community assets and squandered social capital. Continue Reading →