Elk County Catholic School System is pleased to announce that the A.J. and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust has thrown substantial support behind efforts to keep ECC strong, growing and affordable.

“The Palumbo Trust has been instrumental in supporting ECC for many years,” said ECCSS President Sam MacDonald. “We are extremely grateful that the Trust has agreed to continue providing tuition assistance that makes a Catholic education affordable to every family living in Elk, Cameron and McKean counties.”

“Elk County Catholic remains one of the strongest school systems in the Erie Diocese,” said ECC Advancement Director Sue Jansen. “Our enrollment remains the highest of any of the systems outside of Erie. We serve as a model for integrating faith formation into every classroom. Our graduates go on to achieve great things in college, in the military, and in local industry. We still have a football team. We are the last school in the diocese with a marching band. We remain open enrollment, meaning there is no strict admissions test. This is in keeping with our mission of offering a world-class Catholic education to any and all local families who desire one for their children.

“None of that matters,” she added, “unless the people of Elk County can afford to attend. The Palumbo Trust remains a crucial partner in our efforts to keep ECC strong and accessible.”

Many Catholic schools in urban areas survive by charging extremely high tuition and serving upper-middle class families; in contrast, ECC serves families from across the economic spectrum. High school tuition has been and remains the lowest in the diocese. Still, 56 percent of families seek and qualify for financial aid.

“We are blessed to live in an area that retains a strong and vibrant middle class due to our local industry,” MacDonald said. “We also live in one of the most Catholic communities in America. There is not a better place to run a Catholic school system. At the same time, to truly fulfill our mission we need to be open to everyone, and gifts from community leaders such as the Palumbo Trust allow us to do that.

“Mr. and Mrs. Palumbo were longtime friends of ECC. We are thrilled that current trustees such as Bob Ordiway, Don Fleming and JoAnne Ryan support our longterm strategic plan, which calls for the continued excellence, affordability and growth of these schools. Yes, growth. This is an investment in the future of Catholic education in Elk County.”

Pictured are Bob Ordiway, Palumbo Trustee; Sue Jansen, Elk County Catholic School System Director of Advancement; Sam MacDonald, Elk County Catholic School System President; and JoAnne Ryan and Don Fleming, Palumbo Trustees.