The Diocese of Palm Beach Office of Catholic Schools and Office of Communications launched the “Something Greater” marketing campaign on August 1. School administrators and educators from throughout the diocese convened at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens to officially commence the campaign in conjunction with the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
The “Something Greater” campaign is the result of the Office of Catholic Schools’ desire to bring Catholic education to the forefront in the diocese’s five-county area. This new initiative centers on the cohesive marketing of the 17 Catholic schools in the diocese through a two-pronged approach related to promotion of the schools on a diocesan level and through the individual schools’ unique marketing pillars.
Gary Gelo, superintendent of Catholic schools, expressed that the driving force behind the campaign’s launch is to “help prospective families understand that our schools are faith-filled environments with excellent academic programs that prepare young people not only for college and careers, but for leadership in their communities, churches and the business world.”
In 2018, the Diocese of Palm Beach collaborated with the 100 Agency to conduct research on the Catholic schools in the diocese through surveys, focus groups and additional qualitative and quantitative research methods. The data collected revealed four major points of differentiation from public education for the Catholic schools, which serve as key messages for the campaign. These are: strong academics through a structured learning environment; moral and spiritual development; individualized attention through small class sizes; and a child’s holistic development.
Jennifer Trefelner, director of communications, marketing and social media for the Diocese of Palm Beach, explained that the diocese will serve as an umbrella to showcase these four major points for the Catholic schools. “The Office of Catholic School’s website has been overhauled to showcase the Something Greater theme, plus additional technological features and resources for current parents and prospective families have been added. In addition, the Office of Catholic Schools Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages will not only post information regarding the messaging from the campaign, but also showcase the individual schools,” said Trefelner.
The second prong of the “Something Greater” campaign will include providing materials for the individual schools to personalize and implement. For example, St. Helen Catholic School in Vero Beach is using their personalized “Something Greater” materials in packets for the Chamber of Commerce; St. Anastasia Catholic School and John Carroll Catholic High School in Fort Pierce have established a billboard on Interstate 95, encouraging those who pass by to learn more about what the Catholic schools have to offer. “By having consistent ‘Something Greater’ campaign materials, I am optimistic that we will keep the benefits of Catholic education ‘top of mind’ for community members,” said Trefelner.
At the Office of Catholic Schools meeting on August 1, Catholic school administrators revealed their enthusiasm for the campaign’s launch, the likes of which has not been done before in the Diocese of Palm Beach regarding Catholic education.
“The 17 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Palm Beach represent the most important ministries of our church, to educate and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ,” said Sandi Harpring, development director of St. Helen Catholic School. “We are a community of faith, and the ’Something Greater’ campaign speaks directly to that community. I am very excited about promoting a unified message that will reinforce what makes Catholic education something greater.”
“Our school is placing this statement on all our social media outlets and home website,” said Jill Broz, principal of All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter. “We have now added it to our letterhead, envelopes, and emails. The main bulletin board that families see as they enter our school will have this statement with our marketing pillars and photos. We are using this term in all we do.”
“Catholic schools foster a family atmosphere, a safe place to grow—in mind, body and spirit,” said Debbie Armstrong, principal of St. Jude Catholic School in Boca. “I have the joy of assuring that the students, parents, teachers and staff feel that we are something greater. We are all called to be something greater, not for ourselves alone, but to promote the kingdom of God.”
Strong academics through a structured learning environment pertains to the incredible progress and achievements a child can make when thriving in a disciplined, but caring classroom setting. This is proven not only in the statistics gathered through data-driven research, (high graduation rates, college test scores and scholarships) but every day through the students’ personal development.
Moral and spiritual development is at the center of academic rigor at a Catholic school. Catholic educators recognize that students are at a critical stage in development where they are building character and moral gauge. Students see the working body of Christ early on through faith-based leadership examples in the Catholic education system.
The individualized attention students receive in a Catholic school enables teachers and staff to know the child beyond their test scores and attendance record. An emphasis on family participation in a student’s academic career is key. When a student takes a seat in the classroom, their whole family joins them. Engaged families build a caring community and a Catholic education prioritizes family and intimate knowledge of a student’s needs.
Going beyond academics, Catholic schools prioritize the holistic development of students with a focus on moral character, service to others and faith. Everyone within the Catholic school community understands they’re helping shape a son, daughter, future leader or next-door neighbor—not just a student with a test score. Students are nurtured to be productive citizens and think beyond academics to their individual purpose in life and serving others. They are pushed to be something greater.