Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why was Holy Cross Academy founded?
A. HCA opened in 1997 to fulfill a need for Catholic education in an area that currently does not have a Diocesan high school. We are responding to John Paul II's call for a New Evangelization, a task which begins with education. We offer a complete education, illuminated by the teachings of the Church. The Academy is faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. We love and support our bishops and priests.
Q. What grades does HCA serve?
A. Holy Cross Academy is a junior/senior high school serving grades 7-12.
Q. Where is the Academy located?
A. HCA owns a beautiful facility located at 4020 Barrington Road in Oneida Castle, just off Rt. 365 one block north of Rt. 365A. The school is located within the Oneida City School District.
Q. What is the average class size?
A. The average class size is 14. The Academy is committed to small class sizes to ensure individualized instruction in order to maximize each student's potential.
Q. Has HCA adopted the Common Core curriculum?
A. HCA offers a curriculum based on high standards rooted in Catholic teaching and will not be adopting the Common Core.
Q. Does HCA offer Regents Diplomas?
A. HCA is registered with the NYS Department of Education and is qualified by the NYS Board of Regents to confer Regents Diplomas. However, those students who wish to take the Regents exams must arrange to do so at a public school in their home district.
Q. We do not live in the Oneida school district. Is busing available for my child?
A. If you live within 15 miles of the school, or if there is at least one student already being bused from your district, your home school district must provide busing. The busing application deadline is April 1 (in some cases, you may have more time). Please apply for busing even if undecided about enrollment. Families who live outside the 15 mile limit have arranged carpooling.
Q. Do students have to be Catholic?
A. No, but all students - Catholic and non-Catholic - must participate in religion classes, field trips, and religious activities (non-Catholics may not receive Holy Communion at Mass). A passing grade in religion is required for graduation.
Q. Is HCA a Diocesan School?
A. The Academy is loyal to the Magisterium and was established with the blessing of the Bishop of Syracuse. HCA remains administratively independent. A Board of Catholic laity oversees operations and spiritual guidance is provided by local priests.
Q. Is tuition high?
A. HCA believes in providing an excellent education that is affordable for families. Tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year is $3,400 per student - nearly half the cost of Diocesan schools. The maximum family tuition is just $5,100 per year. Tuition may be paid all at once, in two payments, or in ten monthly payments. Students have received financial help from their pastors, relatives, or donors.
Q. How does the Academy meet its expenses?
A. Tuition covers approximately 1/3 of the cost of educating each student. Because we do not rely on State or Diocesan funding, we rely on many generous donors to meet our Annual Fund goals. Families and friends help reduce costs through volunteering their time and talents. We hold several major fundraising events throughout the year, including the CNY Sportsman Show, Mother's Day Plant Sale, and Easter Fudge Sale. Finally, grants from foundations are pursued to fund specific projects.
Q. What about Sports and Phys. Ed?
A. Phys. Ed. classes are held on the athletic field, at the Oneida Armory Gymnasium, and at the Sherrill Community Center. The athletic program includes soccer (b/g), basketball (b/g), softball (co-ed) and archery (b/g), with plans to add additional sports. Other activities include bowling, skiing and many outdoor activities on the 15 acre campus.
Q. Are HCA teachers certified?
A. All teachers are qualified in their particular disciplines, meaning that they have the knowledge, experience, education and training in those areas of study. Most are NYS certified and possess advanced degrees. Religion teachers hold theological certificates in addition to their degrees. Most teachers are multi-talented individuals who are able to instruct students in a variety of subjects. All teachers pledge fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
At present, HCA employs eighteen faculty members, making the average teacher-to-student ratio 1:5. The average experience of our teachers is over 20 years.
Q. Are advanced courses available?
A. Advance Placement courses are offered in American History, English, and Biology. More AP courses may be added in the future.
Q. What does the dress code require?
A. HCA instituted a professional dress code - instead of mandating a school uniform - so that students learn to dress in a manner conducive for their pursuit of knowledge and virtue. Neat and modest attire is required: shirt, tie, dress pants and shoes for boys; dress or skirt and blouse and shoes for girls. The dress code adds to the atmosphere of respect for self and others. More specifics can be found in the Family Handbook.
Q. Does HCA place an emphasis on the arts?
A. Art classes at the high school level follow the NYS syllabus of art sequence courses including Studio Art, Creative Crafts, Ceramics & Sculpture, and Graphic Design. 90% of students complete the art sequence.
Music consists of classes in general music theory, choral singing, band, and individual instrument lessons. Students with more advanced musical ability may audition for smaller ensembles. Major concerts and other public performances and competitions are scheduled throughout the year.