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Published: Friday, 2/2/2007

St. John's making room for more 7th, 8th graders

St. John's Jesuit High School announced yesterday it plans to nearly double the enrollment for its seventh and eighth grade academy within two years.

The all-male Catholic school set up the academy as a pilot project in 2004 and now has 30 boys in each grade.

The Rev. Don Vettese, president of St. John's Jesuit High School and Academy, said it will be expanded to 100 seventh and eighth graders - 50 in each grade - by fall, 2008.

When the program was announced, Catholic school educators thought that it would be a blow to the traditional kindergarten through eighth-grade schools, which have experienced enrollment declines over several years.

The number of traditional kindergarten through eighth-grade Catholic schools in Toledo and nationwide has been shrinking.

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in North Toledo will close at the end of the school year because of enrollment declines, the diocese said last week.

In February, 2005, Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair announced the diocese would close St. Hyacinth, St. Agnes, and St. Hedwig schools.

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