Tolton fundraising goal met; school now seeking donations as it builds enrollment

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 | 4:53 p.m. CST; updated 8:21 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 9, 2012

COLUMBIA — After raising $12 million for building costs, Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School is moving on to a second stage of fundraising.

The school opened in the fall as the first Catholic high school in Columbia. Currently, about 70 ninth- and 10th-graders attend the school. When the 2012-2013 school year starts, the student body will expand to include a new batch of freshmen, and by the fall of 2013, Tolton will have its first senior class.

Principal Kristie Wolfe said that although the construction goal was met, the school will have to raise money until more students are enrolled.

"We're going to need to continue to raise another million more or so until we build our enrollment up," Wolfe said.

Wolfe said the funds the school raises now will be used to cover operating costs, such as paying teachers in future school years. To raise the needed funds, Wolfe said the school hopes to get help from people in Columbia.

"We're looking for support from the local community," Wolfe said. "It's not as urgent as a fundraising goal as the first one, but it is something we work at all the time. It’s not something we hit the goal and then we stop."

Tolton is intended to help Columbia-area students and their families continue a Catholic education through high school; the next nearest Catholic high school is in Jefferson City. Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School goes through eighth grade, and principal Patricia Kirk said some students there will attend Tolton.

"We are probably going to send probably between 25 to 30 of our eighth-graders over there to be freshmen next year," Kirk said. "We’re hoping to be the main feeder of Tolton."

Kirk said that to encourage more students to attend Tolton, Wolfe spoke with Our Lady of Lourdes students.

"We did have the principal of Tolton High School come over and spend three hours talking with the eighth-grade classes about the different classes and extracurricular activities they do there," Kirk said.

Wolfe said the high school plans to be able to give scholarships.

"Our secondary goal is to begin an endowment that will provide financial assistance to students who would like to attend but need financial aid," Wolfe said. 

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