Happy New Year! These newsletters will come more frequently now that we've entered the second half of the school year. My plan is to send one about every other week.

My experience as a recent 8th grade parent reminds me that the rest of this school year will travel by in roughly the blink of an eye. We have a bunch of dates for you to add to your calendar in this issue. Some of them look far off but they are truly just around the corner.

I invite you take advantage of as many of these opportunities as you can. Whether you are a veteran parent or your oldest is starting high school in the fall, I guarantee you that these are the types of events that will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about Central Catholic.

Whenever you have questions or need more information, feel free to call/text me at (309) 533-2200 any time - my phone is always on. If e-mail works better for you, send me your questions at svogel@blmcchs.org
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Don't Miss Our Parent Open Houses
Would you like to spend time with other families who are considering Central Catholic AND with families who've chosen Central Catholic? If so, our Parent Open Houses are for you. Parents, please take the time to gather informally and learn about why Central Catholic is the right choice for your family. Drinks and snacks will be served and Central Catholic faculty and staff will be on hand to answer any questions. Thank you to the following families for graciously opening their doors:
Sunday, January 28, 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Sean and Robin Clark

Thursday, February 22, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Matthew Wolfe and Annorah Moorman

Sunday, February 25, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Billy and Kim Adelman

Tuesday, January 30
Great to be a Saint Day
8th grade students will spend the morning with Central Catholic Ambassadors and participate in the morning class schedule. Parents drop students off in our circle drive by 7:50 a.m. Students stay for lunch and return to their school by 1 p.m. 

Friday, February 2
Spaghetti Dinner and Pack the Place
Come early and enjoy our annual Spaghetti Dinner to benefit our Senior Charity, The Crisis Nursery, then stick around as our Boys' Basketball team takes on The High School of St. Thomas More. Partner School Cheerleaders and Band members will join the high school counterparts during the game and halftime activities are planned as well for all Future Saints! Dinner is served from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., JV game at 6:00 p.m. and Varsity tips at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, February 7
Showcase Central (6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.)
Parents of 7th and 8th grade students and any interested families are invited to tour the school in a structured classroom setting to get an overview of the curriculum and meet the faculty and staff of Central Catholic. Students are welcome too! 

Thursday, February 8
8th Grade High School Placement Test (HSPT)
Students interested in coming to Central Catholic are invited to take the Placement Test to help counselors in finding an appropriate selection of classes. Students need to bring a calculator, two pencils, and a check made out to CCHS for the testing fee of $15. Parents drop off students in our circle drive by 7:45 a.m. and pick them up at approximately 11:30 a.m.

March 5 and 6
New Student Registration  
You and your student register with our counselors. You'll discuss the classes your student will be taking and will officially become a Saint!
What's New At Central Catholic?
Saints March For Life
Several Central Catholic students traveled to Chicago this past Sunday to March For Life (photo Above) and others will make their way to Washington DC Wednesday - Saturday (January 17-20) to participate in the National March for Life. They will also take in many of the sites and attend a youth rally the morning of the March. 

Join Our Respect Life Mass TONIGHT
We are hosting a Respect Life Mass for the Bloomington-Normal community at 5:00 p.m. in our chapel. This is an opportunity to gather our Catholic community in one place and pray for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life. This event will also serve as way for the community to send-off the Central Catholic students who will be leaving on the March for Life DC pilgrimage the next day. We welcome all to attend this Mass in solidarity and prayer for the pro-life cause.

Congratulations Illinois State Scholars !
Illinois State Scholars represent approximately the top ten percent of high school seniors from 738 high schools across the state. Illinois State Scholars possess strong academic potential and are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank. Congratulations to the following students who will also be honored during our Awards Ceremony in May:
Becca Allen, Sarah Brady, Eli Davis, Ellie Deneen, Alyssa Ely, Lexi Jordan, Caroline O’Connor, Audrey Sanders, Andrew Smith, Matthew Stoner, Maggie Stopa, Madison Tattini, Caroline Wieland, and Clare Wieland.

Scholarship and Tax Credit Opportunities
Through The Invest In Kids Act
The Invest In Kids Act is an exciting opportunity for those who feel that Catholic education tuition is beyond their reach and those who would like to support access to Catholic education. For more information check out the "How Does That Work?" section of this newsletter below.
Why Should Your Family Choose
Central Catholic?
Every family's high school decision is unique, but the common bond is choosing what is best for our children. I hope my family's story is helpful as you consider where your students will begin their high school journey (in about 8 months!).

I did not work here when we chose to send Adam, our oldest son, to Central Catholic. We attended several of the events mentioned above while exploring all options. As parents, we realized that one of the most important decisions we would make for our children is where they will attend high school. Ultimately, Central Catholic checked all of the boxes for us:
  • The values we teach at home would be echoed at his school.
  • He would meet Jesus on a daily basis and be supported by those around him in his Faith journey.
  • He would receive the best education available from teachers who come early and stay late to support their students.
  • He would have the opportunity to meet lifelong friends who are always there for him.

I started two weeks into Adam's freshman year and had a front row seat to his high school experience, although I'm pretty sure he was not as excited as I was about that seat :). I love this place and the way it prepared Adam spiritually and academically. I watched his teachers and counselor challenge, support, and prepare him throughout his time at Central Catholic. Adam is in his second year as a Civil Engineering student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He became involved with their Newman Center on day one and continues to be active. His education at Central Catholic helped him earn a University Scholarship and he made the Dean's list both semesters of his Freshman year. Adam makes friends easily and will go out of his way to help anyone in need. His Faith is strong and we were proud that our younger son, Josh chose Adam as his Confirmation Sponsor last spring.

Last year, the decision to send our younger son, Josh, to Central Catholic was easy. Just like Adam, we know Josh will have struggles over the next four years but he will also find support to make it through those struggles. Josh will have a lot of fun and meet lifelong friends during his time here. He will grow in his Faith and have many companions on his journey. He will be given every opportunity to succeed spiritually, academically, socially and athletically in an environment that prepares him for college and for Heaven.

This is our story and I'm happy to share it with you. As I stated above, each family's high school decision is unique. Please take the time to talk to your friends about what moved them to choose Central Catholic and follow up by asking them haw they feel about that decision now. If you have any questions along the way, call/text me at (309) 533-2200.
How Does That Work?
I'm often asked, "Why does Central Catholic do that?" or "How does that work?" Think of this section as a way of getting you and your student a bit more ready for Central Catholic and our traditions. We'll cover different topics each week so stay tuned.
Tuition Assistance
Did you know that each year our students receive over $300,000 in tuition assistance? Most people are surprised at this but we want everyone to know, so help us spread the word! Our tuition helps to keep Central Catholic as the premier academic and spiritual high school in our area.

We do not want tuition to be a barrier to anyone who Aspires To Be A Saint. We have something very special here and we want to share it! Fortunately, several friends have seen fit to create or contribute to scholarship funds that are available to our students, helping to ease the financial strain this can put on families. AND, this year we have a new option for qualifying families, the State of Illinois' Invest In Kids Act. There is a lot of information here, please take your time and look through it all.

Invest In Kids
We'll first go over Invest In Kids; again, this is a new program and information is updated continuously. For the most up-to-date information, to register for e-mail alerts and to see if you qualify, click on the "Students" tab at the Empower Illinois website . Empower Illinois is the "Scholarship granting Organization" (SGO) for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Peoria. You apply for scholarships through Empower Illinois and they approve and distribute scholarships to qualifying families.
  • Families of K-12 students can apply for scholarships beginning January 31, 2018.
  • The Tax Credit Scholarship will cover up to 100% of private school tuition up to a maximum of the average Illinois cost to educate, which is roughly $13,000.
  • Tax Credit Scholarships are need based and do not take academic performance into consideration.
The Application Process
  1. Visit the "Students" tab on the Empower Illinois website.
  2. Families submit a complete application beginning January 31.
  3. Families are notified of their application status.
  4. Students begin school admission and enrollment process.*
  5. Scholarship award notifications are sent to families beginning in February and continue until available funds are used.
  6. Funds will be distributed to schools at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Empower Illinois will work directly with schools and organizations to distribute funds.

* The school admission process is separate from the scholarship process. A scholarship does not guarantee admittance to Central Catholic.

Additional Financial Assistance Opportunities
You may also pursue financial assistance through Central Catholic and through the Dioces of Peoria's Spalding Scholarship. These are also needs-based assistance programs, but the qualifications are different.
PLEASE NOTE: If you receive a scholarship through Invest in Kids for full or partial tuition for 2018-19, you are ineligible to receive a Spalding Scholarship, and any Spalding award previously granted for 2018-19 will be rescinded.
To apply, follow these three steps:
  1. To apply for financial assistance, including the Spalding Scholarship from the Diocese of Peoria, the FACTS Grant and Aid form must be submitted by April15.
  2. In addition to filling out the FACTS Grant and Aid form, contact your Pastor to see if there is any additional assistance your parish can provide (Please note that every Central Catholic family in our Partner Parishes already receives assistance that bridges the gap between our non-affiliated and affiliated tuition rates.)
  3. Call/text me (309-533-2200). We'll set up a meeting with our Principal (Mr. Foster) and Business Manager (Mrs. Osterbuhr) to see how and if we can bridge the gap between the tuition payment to which your family can commit and our full tuition. Payments can be made in a number of installment options. This meeting and the potential assistance are confidential between Mr. Foster, Mrs. Osterbuhr, and you.

In short, do not let tuition be a determining factor in your high school decision. We are committed to working with all families who want to be a part of our family.
Feedback, Please
This edition is more like an introduction to the Central Catholic Connections newsletter. I'll send a couple of these each month and we'll dive deeper into the Central Catholic experience each time. These can be even more helpful with your feedback. Let me know topics and questions that are important to you and we'll address them here. As I stated earlier, my phone is always on (309-533-2200) so call/text/ e-mail me with your thoughts, questions and concerns.