Two South Region Catholic schools to close

In separate announcements, two Catholic schools in the South Region of the archdiocese recently said that they will close at the end of the current academic year.

On Feb. 6, Sacred Heart School in Kingston informed its school community that its high school will be closing, though its elementary school will continue to operate.

Sacred Heart High School "no longer has sufficient funds to continue to provide the quality of Catholic college-preparatory education that we desire to deliver and that our students and their families deserve to receive," Lisa Scannell, director of marketing and communications, said in a statement Feb. 10.

Sacred Heart School, which currently has about 475 students, is sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence based in Pittsburgh.

"With very heavy hearts and after a careful and thorough review," Scannell said, the sisters have decided to discontinue offering grades nine through 12. However, the elementary school, which serves students in preschool through grade eight, will remain open.

The school also said it is working with the high school's students and their families to make arrangements for students to attend new schools in the fall. It will host a school fair on Feb. 24.

"All the schools we have spoken with so far have been very helpful," Scannell said.

The announcement came less than a month after another area Catholic school, St. Joseph School in Holbrook, said it will close on June 10.

In a letter to families dated Jan. 17, the school's principal, Dr. Corinne Merritt, explained that enrollment at the school has dropped 30 percent in the past three to five years. St. Joseph School, which offers grades pre-K through grade eight, currently has 182 students.

"Our most important responsibility remains providing for the educational and spiritual care of our students. They are exceptional young people who make us proud and bring great energy to our community," Merritt said in the letter.

Merritt reassured families in the school community that their children's Catholic education can continue. She said the Catholic Schools Office is working with St. Joseph School to find other Catholic schools with enrollment openings for students and employment opportunities for faculty and staff. A list of Catholic schools holding open houses the following week was enclosed with the letter.

According to the school's website, Cardinal Richard Cushing dedicated St. Joseph School in 1962. Staffed by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, the school opened with two classes of grade one and two classes of grade two, and added a grade each year until 1968.

"There are countless memories to remind us of the many good years at St. Joseph School. This announcement is a great loss for our parish and school community. We will work together as a community to celebrate the history of our school in the months ahead. Over the remaining school year, we will provide a positive experience and smooth transition for our students, families, faculty and staff," Merritt said in the letter.