Written by Colton Wierzbicki, Director of Admissions at RCHS.
Firmly and proudly rooted in the North Omaha community, Roncalli Catholic High School prepares students for the real world through a faith-based, co-educational experience. Whether you seek college-preparatory courses or an alternative career path, we offer innovative programs geared toward students with many abilities and talents. Here we expand on the Top 10 Hidden Gems of Roncalli Catholic High School that help our students uncover and discover their full potential, giving them the courage to follow the right path toward their unique futures.
#1 – Family Atmosphere
Lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are called prides. Prides are family units, and at RCHS, we truly are a Pride. At Roncalli Catholic, our students are able to walk down the hallway and they will have a name, a face, and a voice. Everyone knows everyone, the activities they participate in and the people they hang out with. We are a family and we show it from our hallways to our clubs and activities.
#2 – Small Student-Teacher Ratio
Our student-teacher ratio at Roncalli Catholic is 13:1. This allows our students to receive the one-on-one attention that they may need in class to get specific questions answered and our staff is able to answer those questions more frequently. Our students are able to go to class, ask questions and therefore have a higher chance to retain information better.
#3 – College Prep Program
As a college preparatory school, Roncalli Catholic High School students can choose from a variety of Advanced Placement (AP), honors and dual credit courses that prepare students for the rigors of college academics, putting them on a path to a lifetime of success. With the AP and dual credit courses, students will take classes at RCHS and earn college credit for those, making it a two for one deal. Also, during the second semester, Roncalli Catholic gives Juniors the opportunity to participate in the John Baylor On To College ACT Prep Course, in advance of the spring test date. This program, which is built into the student’s schedule, helps them prepare and find technical skills to boost ACT scores.
#4 – Health Science Career Academy
Partnering with CHI Health Immanuel, Roncalli Catholic is the first Catholic high school in Omaha to offer the new Health Sciences Career Academy. This program offers real-world experience in a hospital setting, giving students a chance to learn more about careers in the health care field by working side by side with professionals. The program is offered to seniors who have completed courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology and Introduction to Health Careers and Medical Terminology. Students must also be certified as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) before their senior year capstone with CHI Health Immanuel. Currently, CHI Health will be sponsoring RCHS Students and helping them pay for the CNA certification before their senior year. The Health Science Career Academy is a credited course and requires that students spend Monday through Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. at CHI Health Immanuel gaining field experience. Fridays are spent in the classroom reviewing their journals and experiences with our program director, Mr. Don Jensen.
#5 – Career Academy
Roncalli Catholic is the only Catholic high school in Omaha to offer the Career Academy which provides our students with an alternate career path. In partnership with Metropolitan Community College, the Career Academy is designed to provide high school juniors and seniors with opportunities to explore a variety of career fields such as nursing, civil engineering, theater technology, architecture, welding, information technology, auto mechanics and many others. Students can use this opportunity to gain credits toward an associate’s degree or certificate in these fields while still in high school. There are 22 academies to choose from, with pathways to high-demand career fields. Our students have a nearly 100% employment rate following completion of the Career Academy program at Metropolitan Community College. Finally, with the help of a generous donation from an alumnus, Roncalli Catholic is happy to be able to offer students the opportunity to take these college-level courses at a reduced cost, or no cost at all. This provides our students with a real jumpstart on their future careers. While the college preparatory curriculum at Roncalli Catholic prepares students to be successful at a four-year college or university, we also meet the high demand for alternative educational and career opportunities.
#6 – Benilde Program
Roncalli Catholic is the only Catholic High School to offer the nationally recognized Benilde Program, which provides daily academic support for students who are able to cognitively adhere to a college preparatory curriculum but may have educational needs that can make it difficult for them to achieve their full potential on their own. Each day, students in the program will attend a direct instructional Benilde period focused on developing and strengthening written language, reading comprehension, and verbal communication skills within the context of the curriculum. During this instruction, students are taught strategies to improve higher-level reasoning skills and self-management. Students are motivated and engaged in the learning process. The philosophy of the Benilde Program is that students attend the same classes, participate in the same clubs and extracurricular activities, and meet the same requirements as their peers. To help them succeed, our instructor Mrs. Leah Critchfield, will promote academic and self-advocacy skills, which will increase the probability of success in high school and beyond. In order to participate in the Benilde Program, students must apply to Roncalli Catholic and the Benilde Program separately. Students are identified through the school’s application process; parents are encouraged to describe any challenges their student has that may indicate a strong match for the program. As a part of the application process, students must submit a complete intellectual educational evaluation i.e. IEP, 504 plan or other documentation.
#7 – Athletics and Activities
Roncalli Catholic Crimson Pride Athletics offers all NSAA sanctioned sports. In recent years, the Crimson Pride has seen a tremendous amount of success in our athletic department. Our baseball team was the State Champion is 2018, our football team has qualified for the state playoffs for the sixth consecutive year and will play in the Class B Semifinals on Friday, November 15 at Roncalli Catholic, our boys basketball team was the 2019 Class B State Runner-Up, our boys soccer team was a 2019 State qualifier, our girls soccer team was a 2018 State qualifier and our girls basketball and volleyball teams have competed in District Finals the last couple of years.
We also offer 17 clubs and activities to participate in. These clubs and activities range from music and theatre to robotics and a video game club. This provides our students with an opportunity to grow and develop socially while also participating in something that they may like to do in their free time.
For a full list of clubs and activities, click here!
#8 – Faith-Based Curriculum
At Roncalli Catholic, we truly believe that Faith is what is going to lead our students to be successful as they go down the path of life. We incorporate our Faith into everything we do at RCHS. Our teachers and staff are great role models in their Faith and with that, they make sure to begin every class period with a prayer. We also have all school masses once a month and have a Priest that joins us in our school every Tuesday. With that, we also offer Service and Prayer retreats for each one of our students throughout the year. This helps our students become closer to their classmates and with God. We truly believe that education is more than your math, science and social studies classes. We want our students to develop in their faith and grow in their relationship with God.
#9 – Diversity
Roncalli Catholic has a 29% minority enrollment which makes us the most diverse Catholic high school in Omaha. We have people from all walks of life that walk our hallways each day. We have boys and girls, people of a different race, people of a different religion that walk our hallways. That gives our students a real-world feel. When students go off to college or into the workforce, they are going to work with boys and girls, people of a different race, people of a different religion. At Roncalli Catholic, you truly do get the real-world feel every day.
#10 – Customizable Tuition
Roncalli Catholic High School is dedicated to making our faith-based, quality education an option for all committed families and students. We work with families, one-on-one, to arrive at a customized individual tuition plan. Your family’s tuition plan may include academic scholarship grants, financial need grants, or alumni legacy scholarship awards. No two tuition plans are exactly alike. Families must apply for financial assistance online through FACTS. Once your FACTS application is complete and your tax documents are uploaded, it usually takes up to two weeks for FACTS personnel to verify your documents. Once verified, your financial assistance will be calculated. Over 86% of our families qualify for some sort of financial aid. We also offer a work-study program called Building Pride which allows students to work in the school for 20 hours during the year for $1,000 off of their tuition. We truly want to make sure that all of our families have the opportunity to receive a great Catholic education.
If you have any questions about Roncalli Catholic or would like to learn more about our hidden gems, please visit our website at roncallicatholic.org/hiddengem or you can contact our Admissions Director Colton Wierzbicki at 402-571-7670 ext. 104 or via email at email@example.com.