Back in March, St. Benedict’s Preparatory School was featured on 60 Minutes, and their story is making schools across the country wonder if they have found the magic recipe for success. The college prep school is located in Newark, New Jersey, and nearly all the students come from low income neighborhoods.
In a city where less than 70 percent of public school students passed their senior high school years, St. Benedict’s stands out like a golden thumb with a 98-percent graduation rate.
It’s an incredible number, but how do they do it? What makes them so special? Well, they give the kids power and treat them like family. “Students are required to run much of the school,” CBS reports, adding that they make important decisions on rules and activities during the school year.
Benedictine Monk Edwin Leahy has been with the school for most of six decades as student, teacher, and now the headmaster. Leahy admits the students don’t always make the correct decision, but they learn more from their mistakes.
“That’s a better learning experience for them. The rule typically is if you’re going to make a decision without adult advice you had better be right.”
The school’s motto is “Whatever hurts my brother hurts me,” and you can see they truly believe that just by watching how they treat one another. They are all brothers. It’s a family.
“Half the boys are black, another third Hispanic, and nearly all come from low income neighborhoods. They call each other ‘brother’ and every morning all 550, grades 7 through 12, celebrate a revival.”
Bruce Davis is a senior at the school and he told the reporter that Benedict’s men are different “than the guys you see outside, you know every single day. We learn what we’re willing to accept, which is nothing but the best, nothing but finishing what we started.”
You can read the full story by clicking this link. There are also more videos on the page.