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Success Stories from the LEI

Since the Latino Enrollment Institute began in 2012, we have witnessed incredible stories of growth and transformation, often from some of the most unlikely of places. Check out the work being done by some of our LEI school leaders in the videos below.

A Genuine Partnership: The Story of St. Cecilia School

If you ask Mike Goedde, principal of St. Cecilia School in Cincinnati, Ohio, what the secret to his school's remarkable growth and vibrancy is, he will be the first to tell you that there's nothing extraordinary about it. "I think it can be a typical story in a Catholic school," says Goedde. When faced with the challenges of declining enrollment, waning parish support, and a changing neighborhood, the leadership team at St. Cecilia believed that the key to the school's growth would be the Latino community. The combination of visionary leadership, archdiocesan support, and parent involvement now form what has truly become a "genuine partnership."

Mount Carmel-Holy Rosary School | East Harlem, NY

In 2004, it took nothing short of a miracle to keep the doors of Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School open. However, through divine intervention, along with the sheer passion and determination of then Principal Suzanne Kaszynski, this small school in East Harlem underwent an incredible transformation, becoming a beacon of hope for the community it serves, attracting attention all throughout New York City and beyond.

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Academy | Denver, CO

When Jeannie Courchene became principal of St. Rose of Lima in 1999, the school was in physical disrepair and in dire need of renovations. She and the pastor began the long road turning the school around and attract more students. They developed a marketing brochure that proclaimed, “We’ve turned old lumber into computer tables, cardboard boxes into window shades, and hundreds of at-risk children into high school graduates. It’s our modest attempt to follow a man who turned a few loaves and fishes into a meal for thousands.” These words capture the vibrant purpose and achievement of the students, parents, teachers, and leadership embodied by this Catholic elementary school.

Sacred Heart Catholic School | Oklahoma City

When Joana Camacho became principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Oklahoma City, she inherited a school that had just experienced a significant drop in enrollment, with no signs of that turning around any time soon. At the same time, the weekend Masses at Sacred Heart Parish were extremely well attended, in large part by Latino families with young children. Despite her efforts to reach out to this population, through a combination of open houses, traditional advertising techniques, and even speaking at some of the Spanish Masses, it wasn’t until she began to understand what Latino parents really wanted for their children that she was able to convey the most effective message.

St. James the Less Catholic School | Columbus, OH

St. James the Less School in Columbus, Ohio, represents an ideal "witness to the possible" with regards to the transformative potential that a great leader can have in a Catholic school. When Yvonne Schwab became principal of St. James in 2004, she inherited a school that was simply surviving, with a total enrollment under 200 children and only two Latino students. Under her leadership, enrollment at St. James the Less grew to over 500 students, nearly two-thirds of whom are Latino. Yvonne helped to establish a culture of success by cultivating a strong spirit of hospitality and inclusion alongside high-quality academics and faith formation.