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Santa Margarita's Parochial Lessons

October 23, 1988

I find it somewhat disheartening that Santa Margarita High School is regarded as the "future model" for Catholic schools ("Learning From Santa Margarita" Sept. 9). For decades, the parochial schools of the Catholic Church have done an outstanding job of teaching students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Santa Margarita High School seems to be a step in the opposite direction: a school built to appeal to the affluent, "success-oriented" suburbanites who happen to have a lot of money.

Is it really necessary to build a high school with college-style lecture halls, high-tech computers and its own cable television station?

There is no argument that Orange County has a major shortage of Catholic high schools. However, a better idea would have been to build two "scaled-down" high schools, one for south Orange County and another for the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Garden Grove area. This would fulfill a need for parochial high schools present in both areas.

Santa Margarita seems to be a statement by the Diocese of Orange about where its priorities are. It should be working to better incorporate the sizable Latino Catholic population, many of whom are newcomers, into the church. Instead, it focuses on the affluent south county by the construction of a school complete with its high-tech perks, in order to appeal to the yuppies of south Orange County. Building two schools would have served both that population and the heavily Latino Central County.

The church has done an outstanding job of educating the population for many years. Hopefully, it can maintain these longstanding values and policies for educating those from low-income and working-class areas, instead of adopting the extravagant values of the affluent community. A good Catholic school does not need computers, lecture halls and cable television stations to educate and to transform the values of our church to its students.

DANIEL PAYNE

Huntington Beach

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