Last November (2014), I returned “home” to my high school alma mater and began my new career at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School (Kennedy Catholic) in Manchester, Missouri as the Director of Marketing. With my “tool kit” full of marketing skills I have learned and picked up from my experience from college, I have began my attempt to revitalize a high school who’s halls were once filled with over 1,000 students in the 1970’s, but who’s enrollment is now hovering around 300.
The landscape of Catholic high schools in St. Louis is much different than around the country. Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I had the experience of living in an area dominated by large public high schools and only two Catholic high schools in a mid-sized city of around 188,000 people. In St. Louis, there is a rich history of the Catholic faith and Catholic education, with over 20 Catholic high schools. The biggest challenge for Kennedy Catholic is the prestige and history of the private Catholic high schools in St. Louis, which are ran by religious orders of priests and nuns, as opposed to Kennedy Catholic, which is an Archdiocesan Catholic High School, ran by the Archdiocese.
Kennedy Catholic has been seen in the past and still struggles being seen as a second-tier education compared to private high schools, with its openness to accept students of all academic levels, in spite of having a National Merit Finalist and a National Merit Honorable Mention winner in the senior class this year. Another struggle Kennedy Catholic faces is its lack of identity and familiarity in the very community it exists in, with very few Manchester residents knowing anything about Kennedy Catholic.
I will be blogging about my struggles, triumphs, and realizations as the Director of Marketing of John F. Kennedy Catholic High School on this website in the coming months. Stay tuned.