CITY ISLAND - Catholic schools throughout the borough opened their doors Wednesday, welcoming students on the first day of the new fall semester.

Classes were back in session at St. Mary Star of the Sea in City Island, which was scheduled to close in 2006 due to low enrollment. The New York Archdiocese, however, decided to spare the school after heeding the appeals of parents and administrators.

Two years later, the school principal, Jane Dennehy, says that the enrollment is inching up thanks to vigorous marketing and good word of mouth.

?We had a lot of positive plans that we have been putting in place,? Dennehy says.

The principal adds that although parents have to makes sacrifices to pay the school tuition, there are scholarship programs and payment plans available so that parents can continue sending their children to school.

Parents hope the new superintendent appointed by Cardinal Edward Egan will stimulate the increase of enrollment in Catholic schools.

In his last job as superintendent in Arlington, Va., the local archdiocese saw a 25 percent spike in enrollment numbers.