DE SALES: TOO FEW STUDENTS
"Looking at the DeSales Preparatory Seminary in St. Francis, you might think there is little, if anything that the Catholic school lacks.
DeSales was built at a cost of $8 million in 1963. Some of the seminary's main features include: an 800 seat auditorium; a three-level library; separate residence halls for the high school and college; living quarters for the faculty and administration; a convent and chapel for the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, who do some of the housekeeping; a football field; a quarter mile track; a swimming pool; several tennis courts; one of the area's nicest gymnasiums, and a handball court.
But DeSales, a four year high school and four year college, does seem to lack one thing— students. Father Richard Cerpich, 43, has been principal of the high school since 1974. 'Ten years ago,' Cerpich said in a recent interview, 'there were 200 seminary high schools in this country. Today, there are only 60. The trend is to close them. As an administrator of one, I'm concerned'.
Cerpich said shrinking enrollments had caused many of the closings. This year, the enrollment at DeSales High School is 129 students, the college has 88. When the high school first opened, there were more than 450 students.
Cerpich said, 'it (the priesthood) is not a desired vocation'."