The Wall Street Journal featured a story about my alma mater this morning on its 100th anniversary, Regis High School in New York City.
Founded in 1914 by an anonymous benefactor and supported by the generosity of her family, its alumni and friends, Regis High School offers a tuition free Jesuit college preparatory education to Roman Catholic young men from the New York metropolitan area who demonstrate superior intellectual and leadership potential. In the admissions process, special consideration is given to those who cannot otherwise afford a Catholic education.
Well, I don’t know how much leadership potential I demonstrated but I couldn’t otherwise afford a Catholic education, so I was fortunate to be accepted. Regis can be considered the very first voucher school, albeit privately funded.
The occasion for the article is the school’s REACH program, which recruits fifth-graders from racial and ethnic minorities and prepares them for Regis’ demanding academics.
Every year, Regis High School picks about 40 fifth-grade Catholic boys with promise for an intensive boot camp that includes four years of summer school, plus Saturday classes every fall and spring. At the end, usually about a third of them have the grades, test scores and commitment to get seats at Regis.
The curriculum is still difficult, though it doesn’t surprise me that students are no longer required to take three years of either Latin or Ancient Greek (both are still available as electives). Alas, these young lads need not experience entire weekends spent trying to determine whether particular lines in The Odyssey contain a genitive absolute or an aorist infinitive. Instead, I hope, they spend their free time on a subject we had difficulty mastering when I went there: how to talk to girls.