The Rev. Eric Schild, in a lab at Cardinal Stritch, says his students will focus on math, science, engineering, and medicine.
With a new focus next school year on math, science, engineering, and medicine, Cardinal Stritch High School is planning to buy iPads for its incoming freshman class and renovate its biology and engineering labs.
The change in focus also means the school is partnering with several companies, including two local hospitals, BP-Husky Toledo Refinery, The Andersons, and Owens Corning, to bring experts to lecture occasionally in the classroom.
"We're excited about the future," said the Rev. Eric Schild, president of Kateri Catholic Schools. "We're really creating a niche for ourselves."
For Father Schild, the renovations and the more advanced classes -- such as robotics or molecular biology -- are needed to better train students in the growing job fields.
It also makes sense because Oregon has nearby Bay Park Community and Mercy St. Charles hospitals, he added.
"What we're trying to do is prepare our students for what lies ahead," he said. "That doesn't mean we're getting rid of English or anything like that."
Cardinal Stritch, a Catholic school in Oregon, has 550 students from prekindergarten to 12th grade.
With the new initiative, Father Schild said several of the partnering companies are helping the school with donations of $10,000 and upward.
He declined to give a specific number of how much the school will receive because he said several agreements are still under way.
The money will help pay for the lab expansions, including the state-of-the-art biology and premed lab that is expected to cost about $200,000, which is paid for mostly with donations, Father Schild said.
Already, the school's enrollment is on the rise because of the new initiative, he said.
At least 80 students are expected to be in next year's class compared to this current freshman class of 60.
The school is also conducting a strategic planning process, looking at how to deal with its need for more classroom and athletic space as well as what to do with 15 acres of land donated in October.
The strategic planning is expected to be completed in late May, after school officials get feedback from an online survey and 150 people participating in small focus groups.
Next year's annual tuition will increase just under 3 percent to $8,100 for a high school student because of inflation, not because of the new initiative, Father Schild said.
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