This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
John Carroll Catholic High School5
Posted September 25, 2014
- a parent
We have sent our 3 children to JCCHS- our youngest is currently a freshman- our experience there has been a very positive one- academically strong, with a fairly diverse student body for a private school nested in Homewood and with a moderate access to extra-curricular activities. Our 2 oldest received quite sizable academic scholarships to competitive colleges. The main reason to consider JC as a school for your child is for the chance to get a solid education academically within a strong faith based milieu. There are few schools in the BHM area that are stronger academically- but not too many- and I was certainly impressed by the life lessons our kids were taught there. It is a very good school if your goal is for your kid to graduate a well rounded young man/woman. As for the comments about people being stuck up- I disagree- there are very wealthy kids that attend JC, but I think most of the student body is middle class and salt of the Earth kind of people. As for the cost- a significant part of it you recoup by the use of uniforms (anyone who has a daughter knows this) and in the college scholarship money they'll get if they are serious students (we came out well ahead!).
I have a just-graduated senior, and a second child currently attending JCCHS. One of my children is special needs, so I think my experience is pretty broad. First of all this is a good school, run by good, Christian people who emphasize building the moral side of students. My experience has been that they will do the right thing. The biggest issue I have with the school is the high turnover rate, which tends to bring in too many young, inexperienced teachers. Those teachers can wreck a kid's GPA. They know one way to teach, and lack the confidence to try other approaches than the one they were taught in college. Of course, there are exceptions--but in general I've found this to be the case. JCCHS is a good environment, but don't expect it to be perfect. There is a little bit of everything you'd see in any other high school--the difference being that the administration has more options to deal with it. Academically, I am convinced the graduates are better prepared than many from the public school system. In the class of 2014 there were over $9 million in scholarships offered. My child received a full tuition scholarship and graduated with an advanced degree and high honors.
As a former student I believe I received a very good education at John Carroll however I think I could have received the same education at one of the better public schools in the city. I have three sons and I am not sure I will be sending any of them to JCCHS. Unfortunately, the education here comes with a very snotty attitude and a group of stuck up groups only money can buy you into. Also, I found even the most talented cheerleaders were refused entry unless mommy and daddy had big bucks. Even student counsel was a buy-your-way-onto position that only the spoiled rotten kids won. Do your children and yourselves a favor. Unless your are richer than God they teach about, send your kids to Vestavia, Mountain Brook, or other comparable schools.
My daughter just started her senior year at John Carroll. She said the kids were very stuck up.The first day was half day and a lot of the kids were going to Moes. My daughter goes and not one J.C student ask her to join them to eat, or even talk to her. She sat and ate by herself. She attended school the next 3 days. It was the same situation. She tried to engage in conversation with the students, but they were not receptive. Prior to J.C. she went to a private catholic high school in New England. The tuition is double the cost of J.C. She attended school with many multi-million dollar families and celebrity's kids. Never did anyone treat her the way J.C. Kids did. I'm very disappointed in this Catholic School. This is not the Southern Hosipitiality I grew up with in Alabama.
John Carroll is a stellar school if your child is driven academically. If you have an average student, the school curently is, in my opinion, not worth the tuition. The only benefit of JCCHS in that scenario is the extra religious instruction and faith based activities - but for less than the tuition, you can provide that through your home parish and household activities (and should be anyway if you are Catholic). I disagree with the other poster that the school buildings are subpar. They are average. The athletics are not bad, but they are obviously not the primary focus and, in my opinion, should not be the focus of *any* educational institution. Honestly, those at the school who are too athletics driven are the main problems there. The kids and families who are mainly focused on education and faith are the best, and JCCHS should really do more to build that core by encouraging and supporting and promoting parent/student activities linked to faith and educational success.
Its a great academic school, but not a very strong athletic program, the facilities are sub-par at best, and the instruction from coaches does not provide a strong base for your scholar athlete to be prepared for competitive college sports, the program is declining and isn't what i would consider a state championship contender in anything except soccer. Understandably being an academic school, athletics isn't a top priority. A desire to win and a competitive strong work ethic is nearly non-existent in most of the athletes and there is no leadership. Also the support from the student and faculty fan base is one of indifference. School spirit and morale in sports isn't strong and the school doesn't provide the neccesities for a athlete to excel in one's sport. In my personal opinion, John Carroll isn't the place to send your son or daughter if they have a potential and a promising carreer in college athletics.
I have had 1 child complete all four years at JCCHS and 4 more to come. We "do not have a lot of money" but do not mind the sacrifice it takes to send our children there. My children are blessed to have made many friends outside of JC and THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. All teenagers have the same pressures and attitudes, don't get me wrong. But the kids at Carroll tend to be more compassionate with one another as the love of Christ is exemplified in there everyday teachings, not only at home but at school as well! Of course there are teachers that may not be perfect, but that will be ANYWHERE you choose to attend. It is a lesson our children must learn because when they hit the real world, there will definitely be personalities that they will have to know how to deal with. As for academics, they are SO prepared for college and the preparation process through counseling is very thorough. I would recommend JC to ALL. Teaching our children that paying a little extra for morals, values and the graces they receive through Mass, Service, Adoration and prayer is so much more rewarding than spending that money on a bigger home or finer car...Christ led a simple life.
I attended JC in the late 80's. I transferred in from a smaller school where, ironically, I was allowed to slip between the cracks. The staff and administration at JC made all the difference in the world. I was a mildly troubled kid who simply needed a positive environment where encouragement was the norm, and elitism was rare.