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Enrollment Drive Keeps School From Dropping Out

Times Staff Writer

The principal of Burbank’s Providence High School said Friday that efforts in past months to increase enrollment will keep the school from closing in June.

Parents, teachers and graduates have been raising scholarship money and recruiting students since September to raise enrollment at the coeducational, parochial school from 200 to 300 students.

The Sisters of Providence, a Seattle-based order that operates the school, had threatened to close it unless 100 more students were enrolled.

“We were joined in prayer efforts by people all over the world,” said Sister Lucille Dean, the school’s principal.

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The decision to keep the school open was made after 112 eighth-grade students took the entrance exam Feb. 4, Dean said. That is a 165% increase over the number taking the test last year, she said.

Goal Met Easily

Along with an expected 25 high school students who are expected to transfer to Providence over the summer, the school easily met its enrollment goal, Dean said.

Parents and teachers from Providence recruited students and their parents from parochial elementary schools throughout the San Fernando Valley and other parts of Los Angeles, Dean said. The school, which charges annual tuition of $3,175, also took out advertisements in local newspapers, she said.

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The group raised more than $25,000 from rummage sales and other events to pay for scholarships to entice top students, Dean said. The Sisters of Providence has promised to match the amount of money raised by the group for scholarships, she said.

“We were ready to close and we were challenged to turn it around,” said Carmen Ferrante, a parent and school volunteer. “We are very proud of what we’ve done.”

School officials announced last month new courses in health science and media communications as part of the recruitment effort.

“We will have to continue to actively market ourselves,” Dean said.


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