Some male middle school students in Houston who are searching for the best fit for the next stage of their academic careers will have multiple chances to preview a local private high school’s facilities starting later this month.
From 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sept. 16 and Oct. 4, St. Thomas Catholic High School will host its Open School Preview on campus at 4500 Memorial Dr. The all-boys school will also host its annual End Zone Rally beginning at 6 p.m. Sept. 17 for its football game against Houston Christian.
“They’ve got a lot of decisions to make when they take that next step, and we think our community is a big piece of who we are as a school,” St. Thomas admissions director Max Holmes said.
Open School Preview is an opportunity for a student who attends a public school in Garden Oaks, Oak Forest, the Heights or other neighborhoods to participate in a campus tour during the school day, which is led by one of St. Thomas’ student ambassadors.
Holmes said St. Thomas hosts an annual designated tour day for its partner Catholic schools in the area, but that public school students don’t always get the same opportunity.
"We take a day that hopefully opens it up and allows them to experience an eighth-grade visit that we would give any one of our partner schools students,” he said. “We bring them on campus, and treat them as if they are one of our partners.”
During the tour, Holmes said prospective students will be introduced to the St. Thomas facilities and its academic environment while having the opportunity to eat lunch with the student body.
They will be given a meal ticket during the event, which will be free to be used at one of two food trucks that will be serving families on those days.
With a student population of about 620, Holmes said St. Thomas is smaller than many private schools.
However, he said the comprehensive nature of the school – with 12 athletic teams and numerous clubs – can still be daunting. So they have taken it upon themselves to try and forge an earlier bond with middle school students while helping them become familiar with the area.
Annual tuition for the 2021-22 school year is $20,725, according to the St. Thomas website.
“We want to welcome families on campus. We want them to get to know us throughout this process,” he said. “Regardless of whether they’re coming from a private or public school, they have a lot of great options in the city of Houston. When we invite them on campus, it allows them to see who we are and get connected.”
Both events are free to attend, and community members can register for either one on the event page at sths.org/admissions/campus-visits/#tab-4ab1af88d64694e877e.
Masks or face coverings will be required for the indoor campus tour, and optional during the End Zone Rally.
“It gives families an opportunity to see who we are as a school and to see if this is an option that can best prepare their son for the next stage of life,” Holmes said.