The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will officially announce on Friday which elementary and high schools will close.
An appeals process has been ongoing for the last month since closing recommendations were made.
Meanwhile, it appears that one local school has settled on a new name.
The archdiocese blue ribbon commission recommended on Jan. 6 that 45 elementary schools and five high schools close.
The building that houses Pope John Paul II in Bridesburg will close, with students attending classes at St. Timothy in Lower Mayfair. Neither school appealed.
Like other schools forming such a partnership, a committee will determine a new school name, uniforms and staff.
The Rev. Steve Leva, pastor at St. Timothy, wrote a letter to parishioners explaining that the two parishes have submitted the name “Blessed Trinity Regional Catholic School” to the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education.
The name represents the three parishes (St. Timothy, St. John Cantius and All Saints) that will be sending students to the regional school.
School families from St. Timothy and Pope John Paul II offered suggestions for a new name. The name will have to be approved.
Seven other local elementary schools were affected by the blue ribbon commission recommendations.
The Our Lady of Consolation building in Tacony will close, and students will move to St. Matthew, in Mayfair. Our Lady of Consolation did not appeal, but St. Matthew did. It appears Our Lady of Consolation will meekly allow St. Matthew to keep its name.
The St. William building in Lawndale will close, and students will head to St. Cecilia, in Fox Chase. St. William did not appeal, but St. Cecilia has.
A small group of St. William parents and students gathered Saturday in the middle school parking lot during the 5 p.m. Mass. Parents posted fliers that read, in part, “The pastor of St. William, Father Joe Watson, is not doing anything to stop St. Cecilia’s appeal.”
In response, Sister Catherine Clarke and Sister Jane McFadden, the principal and vice principal, sent letters home with students on Friday. The letters explained that the administration and staff were not sanctioning the rally, adding that the gathering could turn into a “media circus.”
Whether it was the letter or the bad weather, fewer than 20 people attended the rally.
The parents want the veteran St. William teachers to remain on staff. They also want the option of sending their children to another school. While they rule out Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, they’d favor Presentation BVM.
Some in the St. William community were dismayed at a recent St. Cecilia rally, where parents and students insisted that their school name remain.
“That’s what got us riled up,” said Mary Nugent, whose son Dean is in seventh grade.
The St. William parents wouldn’t mind a name such as St. Cecilia/St. William.
“We want to keep a Catholic name, not Our Lady of Fox Chase,” Nugent said.
Watson, attending a parish fund-raising comedy night, had no comment.
Our Lady of Ransom, in Castor Gardens, has appealed its closing. The students are scheduled to move to Resurrection of Our Lord in Rhawnhurst. Resurrection has not appealed.
St. Martin of Tours in Oxford Circle will become a “mission” school and did not appeal. It could be the beneficiary of additional aid.
Meanwhile, St. Hubert High School continues to raise money to win its appeal. The school, at Torresdale and Cottman avenues, has raised $801,666.
The blue ribbon commission cited a deficit of $624,480 as one reason that the school should close in June.
Last week, the school released the document it used in its appeal hearing. In it, the operating deficit is listed as $387,841.
In addition, St. Hubert offers more advanced-placement and world language courses than Little Flower and John W. Hallahan, fellow all-girls schools that are remaining open. Tennis and indoor track are also available at the Torresdale Avenue school.
Pointing to possible future enrollment gains, the document notes that 18 percent of Mayfair residents are children under age 12.
As for current enrollment, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association figures for current ninth- through 11th-graders show that St. Hubert has more girls than Hallahan, Neumann-Goretti, Bishop McDevitt, Lansdale Catholic, Archbishop Wood, Archbishop Carroll, Bishop Shanahan and Pope John Paul II in Royersford. All of those schools are remaining open.
One way the St. Hubert Alumnae Association continues to raise money is in a partnership with the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football League team, which is offering up to $100,000, based on the number of tickets sold to students, parents, alumnae, advisory board members and supporters.
The Soul organization has local ties. Among the owners are businessmen Marty Judge, Pete Ciarrocchi and Cosmo DeNicola. Lou Tilley is the broadcaster. All are Northeast natives.
Ciarrocchi, owner of Chickie’s & Pete’s, held a fund-raiser on Sunday.
“St. Hubert’s is part of the fabric of Northeast Philadelphia,” he said. ••EndFragment