Magazine article Black Enterprise

Things Have Changed at Cardinal Hayes: But Support for the Small School in the Bronx Has Remained Strong

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Things Have Changed at Cardinal Hayes: But Support for the Small School in the Bronx Has Remained Strong

Article excerpt

The time was 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, and the student body of Cardinal Hayes High School in the South Bronx was predominately Italian and Irish American. Today, 54 years later, almost 99% of the students are African American and Latino, reflecting a change in New York City's population.

But demographics haven't stopped graduates like television star Regis Philbin, film director Martin Scorsese and Turtle Wax CEO Denis Healy from contributing to the Catholic school. If anything, the darkening face of student enrollment appears to have motivated alumni to help the school stay alive.

School officials say that about 40% of the 1,500 students can't afford the school's tuition and fees. As a result, the school faces an annual deficit of about $1 million.

To make matters worse, the Archdiocese of New York has announced that it will stop giving subsidies to all of the city's Catholic schools by 1997.

The administration at Cardinal Hayes High School established an endowment fund in 1991 in response to the threatened loss of funding. Interest from the fund is being used to replace subsidies received from the archdiocese. "We were warned that in 1997 the school would have to be independent of the archdiocese," says Joseph Valenti, director of development at Hayes. "So we set up the fund."

So far, about 2,800 Cardinal Hayes graduates have pledged $5 million, and $3 million has already been collected. The fund campaign ends this year. …

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