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The Gift of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Wichita

Kori Heiman is an elementary school principal in the Diocese of Wichita — where they haven’t charged tuition since 1985.

“‘Catholic’ means open and accepting of all and welcoming all — and that’s truly what this diocese has been able to do,” she shares.

Video Transcript

Wichita, Kansas: In 1985, this Catholic diocese stopped charging tuition.

Teacher 1: What should you be looking at?

Student 1: The crucifix.

Teacher 1: Bless us…

Class: …Oh Lord, for these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty.

Kristi Uhlschmidt: We you live in the Diocese of Wichita and we have six kiddos that attend the Catholic schools. Okay, do that again. Andrew’s a social worker and I work part time for the diocese, so it’s not like we would be sending our kids to Catholic schools if we had to pay tuition.

Kori Heiman is a school principal.

(Kori Heiman speaking with students in the background.)

Kori: I am from Wichita Diocese, but since I went to public school, I really wasn’t familiar with the whole idea of, you tithe to your Church, you do stewardship in your Church — and then there were these Catholic schools. We never say Catholic education is free — it’s not. You’re putting into what God asks you to from the Bible. So as long as you make that commitment, then education is provided for you.

Parishioners are asked to give back with generosity. It’s enough to support all 38 schools.

Class: No.

Teacher 2 reading a book: No. That’s when those horses and those cows need the grass…

Kori: They always say, “You’re from that diocese.” And so we just work really hard here within the diocese to keep building that model.

Student 2: Thank you.

Teacher 1: You’re welcome.

Student 3: Thank you.

Teacher 1: You’re welcome.

Kori: We have children here who have special needs. We have low income families. Anyone that wants to get a Catholic education, as long as they are living the stewardship way of life, can receive a Catholic education. And that’s just one thing that’s just a blessing.

(Children singing in church.)

That actually just gave me goosebumps. Because you go back to when you were teaching, and you know, we teach the marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic, apostolic — right. And Catholic means open and accepting of all and welcoming all. And that’s truly what this diocese has been able to do.

Kristi: Just to know that, you know, sharing the gifts that God gave you is enough for your babies to go to a solid Catholic school and really learn the faith.

Andrew Uhlschmidt: Yeah, it’s pretty incredible.

Kristi: Yeah.

Kori: I thought that was pretty cute, but I couldn’t see out the window so I was like, okay…

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