ALBANY, N.Y (NEWS10) —La Salle Institute in Troy has been a pillar of education here in the Capital Region since 1850. For over 170 years, the private school has only accepted boys. This Fall, the school has transitioned to coed.
Sixty-two female students walked bravely into the unknown hallways of La Salle. But these girls have no problem being trailblazers.
“I felt so empowered being like, I get to go to a military school,” Grace Camenga, Sophomore, said.
Camenga added that she’s ready to try new extracurricular activities and maybe even rise to the top of their military traditions.
“Everything’s equal here. You know, whatever the boys can earn, the girls can earn,” Camenga. “And whatever the boys can do, the girl can do.”
Anthony Bruno is a Senior and currently a Lieutenant Colonel—the second-highest rank at the school in the JROTC, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
When Bruno got word of La Salle’s plans to go coed in April, he was shocked.
“I’m going to be honest. My initial thought was, I’m not really sure why we’re doing this,” Bruno said.
However, Bruno has had a change of heart. He’s even made some new female friends in the classroom and on the track with cross-country.
News10’s Stephanie Rivas asked Bruno if the boys act differently now in school.
“Yeah, to some degree. I would say the guys have to keep up more,” Bruno said. “You’ve got to keep up your professional appearance.”
La Salle added 62 female students this year out of 422 enrolled in total. Although some believe girls were added to boost enrollment. Admissions Director, Josh House, said that’s not the case.
“This was not a desperation move,” House said. “The school is not changing: It’s transforming, it’s growing.”
House added that La Salle in Troy is followed the lead of other Lasallian schools in Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rhode Island—who already made the transition to coed.
La Salle is steeped in tradition. Thus, the announcement reaped mixed reactions from alumni. However, support has grown with reassurance that the school’s principles will continue to be a priority.
Leadership class is still required for graduation, and routine uniform checks are still in place with some changes.
When checking proper footwear or the neatness of a shirt’s tuck, the students will form two lines split by gender.
“Females will inspect females, and males will check males,” Bruno said. “That way, it’s all fair.”
House said female students will be permitted to try out for La Salle’s famed drill team, and newly created female sports teams will depend on student interest.
Camenga said a group of female students already met to form a soccer team, and she plans to join the drama club. The drill team, on the other hand, is still up for consideration.
“I guess it’s kind of a watch and learn things. Because I’m very new to this,” Camenga said.