The Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg is investing $30,000 into an initiative to increase enrollment and improve education at Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School.

School officials for the diocese on Monday unveiled new branding and community outreach strategies for the Connellsville school.

Jennifer Miele, chief communications officer and managing director of evangelization for the diocese, said the initiative works to actively combat several forces working against private schools in the area.

“I think when you’re in a situation where the sticker price of the Catholic education may scare people away, and you’re surrounded by good public schools already and an aging demographic, we have to do something to set ourselves apart,” said Miele.

Dr. Maureen Marsteller, superintendent of the diocese’s Office of Catholic Schools, said her office over the past six months has worked to develop a “visibility plan” for Geibel “to make sure people in our community know and understand the value of the Catholic education being provided.”

The multi-faceted plan includes establishing an enrollment committee of parents and staff to visit parishes and attend community events promoting the school, bolstering community outreach efforts by designating a team of ambassadors to meet with elected officials and community leaders, improving daily communication with parents and the school community and further developing alumni relations.

Geibel Principal Patricia Nickler noted the end of a multi-year technological upgrade at the school, which was paid for by private donation and state funding, that includes the installation of smart boards in every classroom, giving students in all subjects the capability to learn with interactive technology.

The school on Monday unveiled new logos and wordmarks that update Geibel’s insignia as part of a brand refresh developed by John Zylka, diocese director of visual communications.

The imaging maintains the Geibel colors and signature alligator but with a freshened look.

“We kept the gator, but he’s now bigger, bolder,” said Zylka. “And to be honest, I made him look a little hungry because we need some students in here.”

Marsteller said the purpose of the initiative is to draw attention to the tradition of excellence that exists at the Connellsville school.

“I think this brings to attention that Geibel is a fabulous place to learn, to be a student, and we educate well,” she said. “This is an investment in the students’ future.”

Many schools in the diocese will experience an increase in enrollment for the 2019-20 school year, said Marsteller. While Geibel is not one of them, the school is not in danger of closing, she said, adding that the diocese’s other high school, Greensburg Central Catholic, also received rebranding last year.

The anticipated enrollment this year at Geibel, which offers grades 7-12, is approximately 130 students.

The diocese last closed a school prior to the start of the 2016-17 school year when it shuttered Holy Trinity School in Ligonier due to low enrollment.

The diocese operates 11 elementary schools and two high schools in a four-county area, including Conn-Area Catholic School (Connellsville), St. John the Evangelist Regional Catholic School (Uniontown) and St. Sebastian Regional School (Belle Vernon), locally.

Also announced Monday was Geibel’s first GatorFest to be held Oct. 20 on the school’s campus with activities for all ages.

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