Class of 2026 membership is shaping up

More than 30 future ninth-graders are scholarship winners


Photo submitted

At the scheduling meet for next year’s Freshman Class, a member of the Class of 2026 shows off her yard sign.

Given James Lee, Reporter

There are still several dozen days left in this school year, but 265 members of the Class of 2026 already have made their commitment to enroll here next year. 

According to the director of admissions, Mrs. Anna Taul, “Applications are 23% ahead of what they were this time last year.” The Class of 2025 had fewer applicants compared to the incoming freshmen. 

The admissions office may have to expand the waitlist and decline admission for more students than has been the case in past years. Taul said, “(Turning down students) is the hardest part but we have to make sure the students will align with Cathedral.” 

The goal for the number of students in the 2026 class is around 290. The current sophomore class is a little over 300. Considering factors like class size, parking spaces, counselor-to-student ratio and the overall student experience, 290 is an ideal number. Taul said, “290 is the sweet spot for class size.” 

The class is also nearing the sweet spot in a few other areas as well as just their quantity. The gender percentages are 52% male and 48% male. This has improved since the Class of 2025 that was 56% male and 44% female. The incoming freshmen will be bridging this gap and nearing the 50/50 range. 

The class is also displaying religious diversity with only 62% of the incoming students being Catholic. This is lower than that of previous years, which usually falls around 70%. About 18% identify as nondenominational Christians and the other 20 percent identify under one of the following: Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Espicopalian or other. 

Trends in enrollment this year include those affected by Covid-19 and their virtual learning experiences. Taul said, “We’re seeing many students who spent their whole seventh grade online and returned to school in eighth grade.” This situation brings up concerns not only with academics but also socialization. 

This concern is put to rest when looking at the Class of 2026’s statistics. Around 35 freshmen have won an academic scholarship, an amount which is equivalent to recent years. Additionally, the Presidential Scholarship provides $3,000 for each year for students who score a 98 or higher on the High School Placement Test. 

The Cathedral Merit Scholarship provides $1,500 for each year of high school awarded to those students who score a 96 or a 97 on the High School Placement Test. 

Not only are the incoming freshmen not a concern academically, but they are also socially capable. Taul said, “The class strikes me as very excited and eager to be on campus.” Through many events including scheduling nights, the T-shirt and yard sign pick-up and the Mothers Club used uniform sale, the Class of 2026 has gotten familiar with the campus and the Cathedral culture. 

Other events that are being discussed include a book club for summer reading and a field day before freshman orientation. No matter the event, the Class of 2026 has enthusiasm and commitment even before they become official members of the Irish family. 

An increase in applicants is no problem when it comes to such an eager and passionate class of incoming freshmen, Taul suggested. For current students, a key aspect to remember is that every student impacts the reputation of Cathedral and potential students want to apply. As Taul said, “Our best admission recruiters are the students. You have a hand in the future.”