Private Schools Column

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Students who receive financial aid at three of Philadelphia's Catholic high schools for boys need not worry about renting a tuxedo or finding a date for prom night, because a special policy at the schools prohibits them from attending the affairs.

"It's a matter of priorities," said Judi Moran, assistant director of communications for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. If a student can foot the "exorbitant expenses" of prom festivities, that money ought to be spent on tuition, Ms. Moran said.

"This is not a diocesan policy," she was quick to add. "It's left up to each individual school."

Of the 29 high schools in the archdiocese, Ms. Moran said she knew of only three--Northeast Catholic High School, Father Judge High School for Boys, and Archbishop Wood High School for Boys--that prohibit financial-aid recipients from attending the junior and senior proms.

At these schools, students who are accepted under a financial-aid package must agree ahead of time to accept this policy, Ms. Moran noted. "It is not a suprise at prom time," she said.

A new spat has erupted between the public and private sectors, this time involving the public Boston Latin School and the private Collegiate School of New York City, both of which claim to be the oldest school in the nation.

Boston Latin, which celebrated its 350th anniversary in late April, was chartered in 1635 as a preparatory school for Harvard University and until several years ago was considered to be three years older than Collegiate, which traditionally has accepted 1638 as its founding date.

But in a recently discovered letter written in 1628, the Rev. Jonas Michaelius describes his efforts at that early date to teach Indian children in New Amsterdam. The discovery prompted the school's historians to reconsider the school's founding date, and last year it was officially changed to 1628.

Michael Contompasis, headmaster of the Boston Latin School, said the letter does not change anything in his eyes. Unless there is evidence that Collegiate was chartered as a school at the earlier date, "then we contend we are the oldest school in the country, and that's that," Mr. Contompasis said.

Anne E. Rosenfeld, director of public information for the National Association of Independent Schools for the last five years, has announced that she will leave the association at the end of July to become an adjunct professor of public relations and communications at Simmons College in Boston.

Ms. Rosenfeld said she also plans to launch her own consulting business, Public Information Resources Inc., sometime in August. The firm, Ms. Rosenfeld said, will provide assistance to independent schools and colleges, and other education organizations in such areas as marketing, development, and public relations.--br

Vol. 04, Issue 37

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