Placing on the Honor Roll is a tremendous marketing opportunity
Being on the Honor Roll provides a great opportunity to market your school. With some effort, schools can turn their placement on the Honor Roll into positive press, improved fundraising, increased enrollment, and recognition from bishops, school boards, donors, and parents.
Below are a number of suggestions, tutorials, and examples relating to how schools in the past have made the most of the Honor Roll. If you have any feedback along the way, feel free to contact us at honorroll@CatholicHonorRoll.org.
Figure 1: St. Cecilia Academy, Nashville, TN
Below you will find promotional ideas, access to the Honor Roll Logo, a tutorial and sample press releases, an over view of the Catholic High School Honor Roll and a Profile of the 2012-13 National Catholic High School Honor Roll.
1. Promotion Ideas:
In the last few years Honor Roll schools have found that placing on the Honor Roll is powerful publicity. Here’s what one principal said:
“We have seen how the positive impact of being named by the Catholic High School Honor Roll has provided many opportunities for us. The positive impact has created opportunities in the way of increased enrollment over each of the last three years, increased academic success & community service, and most importantly the lasting impact on the future of our younger students in the Catholic schools.”
Kyle L. Groos, Principal, O'Gorman HS
Figure 2: Notre Dame Regional High School
Schools have needed little encouragement to promote their placement on the Honor Roll. Here are a few examples of what’s been done.
Mass/Holy Hour of thanksgiving
“On the day we learned of the award…I asked them all to join in the most beautiful Hail Holy Queen so they could sing to say thank you to the true source of all goodness on our campus, Our Lady of the Rosary, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace.” ~ Ed Wassell, Holy Rosary Academy, AK.
Banners/Posters: Use the Honor Roll logo (access it here):
Contact us for digital copies of the Honor Roll logos for your use with banners or posters.
Assembly: Announce the award to the school.
• St. Theodore Guerin High School – See Figure 3.
• St. Cecilia Academy – See Figure 1.
• “We conducted an assembly to "award ourselves" the Top 50 Honor Roll award with four new banners and a presentation of the process from Br. Pat Martin. Our young men responded very positively and enthusiastically.”
~ James Antos, Principal, Brother Rice HS
Figure 3: St. Theodore Guerin High School
Advertising/Fundraising: Use the award to your advantage
Figure 4: St. Thomas More Academy Ad
“Every announcement, advertisement, post-card and poster produced by Quigley Catholic is another opportunity to tell the community that we have been named among the top 50 in the nation! The results have been obvious. We had the largest freshman class in ten years enter this fall. The significant increase in enrollment has brought a wave of excitement among students, parents, and faculty!”
~ Mike Burchill, Director of Admissions, Quigley Catholic High School
Promotional materials: Use the Honor Roll logo in promotional materials
• Mt. De Sales – See Figure 5.
• “We announced the Top 50 Award to our faculty and staff yesterday afternoon and everyone was ecstatic, what a great way to begin an academic year! I am putting together a package with examples of how we incorporate the Top 50 logo into our materials and will send it to you ASAP. Is our pride showing?”
~ Claire M. Cohagan, Director of Communications, Mount de Sales Academy
• “We will announce to our parents, faculty, student body, alumni and friends of this news!”
~ Fr.Marcelino Garcia,S.J. President/Principal, Belen Jesuit Preparatory
• “We are immediately PR-ing this heavily in-house, and with a tailored press release. We feature the honor in our marketing view books, at open houses, etc.”
~ Todd Flanders, Headmaster, Providence Academy
Figure 5: Mt. De Sales Academy Promotional Materials
Student, donor, and family Gatherings
• Mt. De Sales Academy – See Figure 6.
• “Students celebrated with a cake and treats at lunch time, and gave thanks at a prayer service in the afternoon. Teachers received a "thank-you" gift certificate, and families enjoyed a chicken barbecue in the evening. We hurriedly put together an outdoor banner which read "HCA - TOP 50" with the Honor Roll logo in the center.” ~ Margaret Miller, Principal, Holy Cross Academy
Figure 6: Mt. De Sales Academy VIP Reception
• Put up a website story. Create your own video of the event
• Place and keep the Honor Roll logo on your website
• Put an announcement in your school’s newsletter
• Announce this to parents and donors – let them know that their investment is worthwhile.
• Send the press release to your local TV and radio station. Then call a reporter and explain the award. Local news stations are constantly looking for good things happening in the community. Be prepared to have them visit your school on September 20th.
• Invite your bishop to visit. He will be receiving a letter from us, but you should immediately notify him of the award and invite him to an assembly or prayer service.
• “To show the importance of this honor, I got on the PA. This is the first time this year that I spoke to the student body on the PA and so teacher and students knew I was announcing something very important. (the Principal frequently talks on the PA but the President does not.) The announcement was well received by the teachers especially and I thanked them for their efforts. We immediately put the announcement and new logo on our home webpage. Also, as I meet with the leaders of the school and larger community, I tell them of this recognition and honor. Needless to say, the news is very well received because our constituency very much wants our school to be the best but at the same time to have a strong Catholic identity.” ~ Fr. Ron Schwenzer, C.S.B., President, St. Thomas High School
2. Write and Send a Press Release
(Here is the National 2012 press release) http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/201213HonorRollPressRelease/tabid/757/Default.aspx
When the Honor Roll is released, we send the basic press release to national reporters, news services, Catholic and Christian education groups, as well as Catholic newspapers, magazines, and websites. However, this national approach limits our ability to cater to a school’s local and unique market. Since we do not know your local media market, it is essential for you to take advantage of this time and activate this well-deserved honor.
Download this year’s (see above). Schools combine this text with their own personalized paragraph containing information specific to your school. A good quote from the school’s principal, headmaster, or other administrator adds an important personal touch. One suggested quote could be:
"It is an honor for SCHOOL to be recognized by the Catholic High School Honor Roll as one of the top 50 Catholic high schools in the United States. It recognizes our commitment to Catholic education. I applaud the students, parents, teachers, and staff for their hard work and commitment to this important mission of the Church."
Here are a few examples of what other schools have done:
• Seton Catholic Preparatory School: http://www.setoncatholic.org/about-seton/setoncphs-top50.cfm
• St. Cecilia’s Academy: http://www.stcecilia.edu/campuslife/documents/SCAmakesTop50honorroll.pdf
• St. Theodore Guerin High School: http://www.catholichonorroll.org/images/presskit/pk11.pdf
• John Paul II Catholic High School: http://www.jpiihighschool.org/
Here are a few additional suggestions for the press release:
: Be sure to include pertinent information for a busy reporter to reach you. This includes name, position, school, telephone number, and website. Reporters are very busy, so make it easy for them. Be available for reporters to contact you.
: Try to keep the press release to fewer than 400 words total. Short and succinct communication works best. A press release is meant to give the media enough to gain their interest. You are writing to media--journalists and editors.
Once the press release is finalized, send it by e-mail to the following media outlets:
• Local newspapers
• Local TV stations – Here is what one TV station did as a result of being notified by a school that made the Honor Roll
• Local radio stations
• Diocesan newspaper
• Religious order or other publication
• State media outlets: depending on your location, statewide media outlets in another city may still pick up your story, so don’t resign your breadth to only local groups.
E-mail addresses and fax numbers for the media can usually be found on their website, and sending releases directly to religion and education reporters is often helpful. Also, the likelihood of getting coverage is dramatically increased with a phone call to the newspaper, TV station, or radio station.
In addition, if you have b-roll film of your school or your students, note that you have this available. TV stations are much more likely to mention this piece of news if they do not have to send a camera crew to your school to capture video.