One school in our area is working hard to make sure that every student — no matter their challenges — is able to succeed.

Sister Diana Dolce, the founder and executive director of Hope Hall, has been at the helm for nearly 25 years. 

“I had been teaching in the parochial school system and there were many, many kids who were literally falling through the cracks,” Sister Dolce said. “Their ability was such that they need more time to learn, they clearly learned differently, and in a tradition classroom setting, the pace was too fast, the delivery was not at all what they needed. But their ability was too high for special-ed classification.”

Sister Dolce went to the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Rochester who supported her in starting her own school to help those students, using multi-sensory teaching techniques. 

“You don’t take a risk as a learner unless you feel that the risk is something that’s going to be worth it,” Dolce said. “So helping them see that they can learn, they just learn differently, is important.”

Sister Dolce, the school staff, and the board of trustees work hard to raise money every year so that the students, 85 percent of them from neighborhoods in poverty, can attend school at a low cost, and be successful. 

Many of them will say their happiest years were here at hope hall because they knew they mattered and they felt respected,” Sister Dolce said. “That’s what keeps me going.”

Sister Dolce says the model works. They have a 100 percent graduation rate and her goal is to one day spread what they’ve been able to do here at Hope Hall to school districts across the country.

It costs about $17,000 per student to attend Hope Hall, but tuition for families is about $5,000. 

If you’d like to help Hope Hall continue its mission of helping, click here.