Parents Invited To Help Keep Jesuit an Affordable School of Excellence
The 2016-17 Parents’ Annual Giving drive, a key component to keeping Jesuit accessible and thriving, is off to a strong start.
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, members of the PAG leadership team, which includes a chairman, three tri-chairs per grade level, and hundreds of parent captains — volunteers all — attended Mass, enjoyed a meal together, and heard from speakers committed to keeping Jesuit…Jesuit.
The evening event commenced with Mass in the Chapel of the North American Martyrs celebrated by Jesuit president Fr. Anthony McGinn, S.J. From there, parents moved to the Student Commons. After supper, Fr. McGinn offered his thanks to this year’s captains for their support of the drive and the good work that they will be doing to ensure the drive’s success.
Fr. McGinn said the drive, which was started by Fr. Paul Schott, S.J. ’40 when he was president in the 1970s, is still serving its original purpose of keeping tuition affordable for as many families as possible. Jesuit’s tuition remains one of the lowest in Greater New Orleans area and is, by far, the lowest of all traditional Jesuit high schools across the nation. By comparison, Strake Jesuit in Houston charges $19,500, Jesuit College Prep in Dallas charges $17,200, and the tuition at Jesuit High School in Tampa is $15,625.
2016-17 PAG chairman Rocky Daigle ’85 asked parents to make their committments early and said his goal is 100 percent participation. He also said it’s important to understand what the drive is and what it is not.
“We’re not asking parents to help with financial aid. That funding comes from Jesuit’s endowment. We’re only asking parents to help us cover the cost of their sons’ education,” Daigle said. He added that nearly 4,000 Jesuit alumni will donate in excess of $1.4 million to the Living Endowment Fund drive, the alumni component of annual giving that also helps keep the school affordable.
Captains agree to call two to three other parents to answer questions they may have about the drive and to personally invite their participation. All Jesuit parents are asked to do their best to help make up the difference between what Jesuit charges for tuition ($8,850) and what it actually costs to educate a Blue Jay ($11,727). For this academic year, that difference is $2,877.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation from senior Jaime Colon, who, on behalf of the student body, thanked parents for their involvement and shared his story.
“I’m at Jesuit and I’m friends with people from all over and from different backgrounds because of the work you’re doing,” he said. “My father is from Puerto Rico, and my mother is from Mexico. We didn’t know anything about Jesuit, but my mom determined that Jesuit was a school that would challenge me and at the same time support me. And that’s exactly what’s happened. We have teachers here who could be teaching at Ivy League universities, and we have incredible resources that are helping us develop into leaders,” Colon added.
When Colon, a state champion debater, was asked to carry the “Committed to Justice” banner during this year’s Investiture ceremony, it meant something special. He helped start an organization that spends hundreds of hours tutoring young people across the city.
Parents are encouraged to make their commitments to the drive as soon as possible and no later than Friday, Sept. 16. Parents have until May 31 to complete their pledges.