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Back to School 2016-17: Enrollment rises at Our Lady of Black Rock

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Catholic school students in Western New York begin their first day of classes both Tuesday and Wednesday. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley stopped by Our Lady of Black Rock School off Amherst Street in Buffalo as preparations for a new school year were underway were enrollment continues to rise.

"Our enrollment continues to be very strong and keeps on growing and it's a wonderful thing,” said Marth Eadie, Principal, Our Lady of Black Rock School.

Despite a very warm school building Principal Eadie was upbeat as she talked about preparing for a new school year at Our Lady of Black Rock.  The school serves a very diverse, but poor population among the 40-catholic elementary schools. But Eadie tells WBFO News the school qualifies for free meals.

“So all of our students get a free breakfast and free meal. Some of our parents are thrilled. They said our pocket books are happy because they won’t have to pay for their meals at all, so that’s a great thing,” Eadie explained.

Many of the students attend through the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Bison fund. The school is about 50-percent Catholic and the other percentage is Christian-based. There is an increase in the number of refugee students attending the school. 

Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
Students during the 2015-16 school year.

“The newest group of folks are from Ethiopia – Eritrea. African families that have resettled here,” Eadie noted.

Eadie was still registering students in August. The Pre-K is full and there's a 'wait-list'.

“Can’t take any more children. We’re wait-listing. Some of our grade levels are topping out at 26 children,” Eadie said.

Eadie notes there are plenty of challenges she has watched poverty levels among students has consistently been on the rise for several years, but Eadie and her staff manage to make it work.

“Speeding like the sound of light to the first day of school and saying wow, there’s still a lot of things to get done and how are we going to do it, but I always say it’s like Christmas – it’s going to happen whether you are ready or not – so we will be ready,” declared Eadie. 

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