Group helps pay Catholic school tuition

Hope for the Future steps up for disadvantaged students

SAN ANTONIO – The statistics of success for Catholic school students is well documented, and the group Hope for the Future makes sure that those who want an education at local catholic schools can get one.

It's been around since 2006 and gives out $1.5 million annually in grants and scholarships.

Students like 7-year-old Devon Garcia and his sister, Mia, are proof of the determination of some parents to keep their kids in catholic schools.

Their dad, Alex Garcia, says two years ago when their mother was diagnosed with cancer and the family was financially forced out of St. Mary Magdalene School and into public school, Devon was bullied.

The family wanted back in and tapped Hope for the Future to help.

"They made it real easy for us. They opened their arms to us (and were) loving (and) caring, and that's why our kids are back here," he said.

He says Hope for Future wasn't around when he was a child and financial hardship forced him and his brothers into public schools.

Today, it offers emergency help, as well as one-year tuition scholarships.

The reasoning behind strong feelings regarding these private, religious schools can be found in the statistics.

According to numbers compiled by Hope for the Future, 70 percent of students who attend Catholic elementary school go on to attend a Catholic high school.

Of those students, the dropout rate is at zero -- and 99 percent of those who graduate will go to college or technical school.

From there, the statistics are truly remarkable, according to Hope for the Future Director Julie Seguin.

"Once they go to college, the world is their oyster. More than half of them graduate from college compared to the public school kids, so they have a really good start in our public schools," she noted.

These are inspiring success rates for a city that has battled high dropout rankings for decades.

As well, the organization says Catholic school enrollment actually saves the City of San Antonio $71 million.

The program is funded through donations at the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

The annual Khaki and Plaid Gala is the primary fundraiser, set for Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center.

The 2012 Gala brought in $350,000.

This year, it is being hosted by local businessman and philanthropist Harvey E. Najim, whose Family Foundation is dedicated to early childhood education.

Information how tuition assistance and the fundraiser can be found at www.hopeforfuture.org