Just outside downtown Newark, New Jersey, sits an abbey and school. For more than 150 years Benedictine monks have lived, worked, and prayed on High Street, a once-grand thoroughfare that became NewarkGCOs Skid Row and a focal point of the 1967 riots.St. BenedictGs today has become a model of a successful inner-city school, with 95 percent of its graduatesGmainly African American and Latino boysGgoing on to college. Miracle on High Street is the story of how the monks of St. BenedictGs transformed their venerable yet outdated school to become a thriving part of the community that helped save a faltering city.In the 1960s, after a trinity of woesGmassive deindustrialization, high-speed suburbanization, and racial violenceGcaused an exodus from Newark, St. BenedictGs struggled to remain open. Enrollment in general dwindled, and fewer students enrolled from the surrounding community.The monks watched the violence of the 1967 riots from the schoolGs rooftop along High Street. In the riotGs aftermath more families fled what some called Gthe worst city in America.GThe school closed in 1972, in what seemed to be just another funeral for an urban Catholic school. A few monks, inspired by the Benedictine virtues of stability and adaptability, reopened St. BenedictGs only one year later with a bare-bones staff . Their new mission was to bring to young African American and Latino males the same opportunities that German and Irish immigrants had had 150 years before.More than thirty years later, St. BenedictGs is one of the most unusual schools in the country. Its remarkable success shows that American education can bridge the achievement gap between white and black, as well as that between rich and poor. The story of St. BenedictGs is about an institutionGs rise and fall, resurrection andrenaissance. It also provides valuable insights into American religious, immigration, educational, and metropolitan history. By staying true to their historical values amid a continually changing city, the downtown monks, in resurrecting its prep school, helped save an American city.Some have even called it the miracle on High Street.
Miracle on High Street
Fordham University Press
The Rise, Fall and Resurrection of St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J.
Non Fiction /