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Local school dramatically increases enrollment

Our Lady of Hungary School on West Calvert Street in South Bend has more than doubled its enrollment over the past three years. School officials attribute their tight connections with the community to their dramatic turn around. 

First graders at Our Lady of Hungary are excited for new school desks.

For some, desks may not seem like glamorous gifts, but considering the school has bounced back from enrollment as low as 60 to now having 185 students; new desks are a big deal.

Kevin Goralczyk, Principal at Our Lady of Hungary attributes the turnaround to two factors.

“I think having the Hispanic population come in and the School Choice Scholarship. The parents choose to be here. They can choose where they want to go and they choose to be a part of our Lady of Hungary,” explains Goralczyk. 

Making families in the neighborhood feel welcome is part of the school's foundation.

“It makes them really comfortable because I answer them,” says Crystal Garcia, a translator at Our Lady of Hungary.

Garcia is just one of the resources used in the school. The student body is 90-percent Hispanic.

“A lot of new families are moving in. We have a priest who is bilingual and so we have added Spanish masses to our school community; and that has brought a lot of Hispanic to the neighborhood, and to the church, and therefore the school,” says Melissa Jay, who has been teaching at the school since 2002. 

Jay adds breaking down language barriers through different English as a Second Language programs has bumped class room sizes from five to 20. 

Goralczyk mentioned that this type of growth was partly due to the Indiana Choice Scholarship, a program that pays a portion of the tuition for lower income families.

Goralczyk says regardless of the reasons, he hopes the school keeps attracting students.

“We have room for 25 per grade level and we ordered enough desks so we can cover that because that's our goal we would like to fill our school up and we are hopefully on our way to doing that,” says Goralczyk.
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