QUINCY -- Quincy Notre Dame High School started the 2019-20 school year with a new look to its exterior -- and by beating projected enrollments for freshmen and total students.
QND reported its largest freshman class in more than a decade.
The 120 students this year ties the number from the 2005-06 school year, and Principal Mark McDowell points to the school's faith values as a key reason why.
"Families continue to value a secondary Catholic education and believe it is an investment in their students' future," McDowell said. "We continue to be a culture of academic excellence and common faith values. We are the right size for some people. We have 383 students, which allows us to know our students and families on a personal level."
The school had projected a freshman enrollment of 113 and an overall student population of 379, so "at 383, we surpassed that as well," McDowell said. "It was a lot of diligent effort on the part of many people at QND and families who have come to know us."
QND continued to build on its strong relationship with Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools.
Eighty-four percent of last year's eighth-grade students in QCES chose to attend QND as freshmen, McDowell said.
Twenty-two members of the freshmen class came from outside QCES, including eight from Holy Family in Hannibal, Mo. "We continue to foster that relationship knowing people in Hannibal have an appreciation of Catholic education on the elementary side and an interest in continuing it through their high school experience," McDowell said.
Overall enrollment at the school fell slightly compared to the 2018-19 year which started with 392 students and ended with 387.
McDowell said the school year is off to a smooth start for all students.
"We like the momentum that we have," he said.
That momentum carries into the school's appearance which got a face-lift supported by the QND Foundation.
The renovation installed Dryvit in areas that formerly had siding. "People pull up and are quick to say something looks different," McDowell said. "It goes along with the projects completed last year, the new addition" and exceeding the $6 million goal of the Campaign for Quincy Notre Dame.