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Boston’s only Catholic high school for girls to close

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/05/16

From The Boston Globe: 

Dozens of students who attended Boston’s only Catholic high school for girls are scrambling to make new plans for the fall after the board of trustees at Elizabeth Seton Academy voted this week to close. Kailana Harriott, 17, who was entering her senior year at the Dorchester school, said she learned Wednesday that classes would not resume. “It was sad. It’s also frustrating . . . I have a month essentially to find a new place to call my school,” said Harriott, who lives in Roxbury. “The school that I’d like to attend is closing down.” Trustees at the independent school voted to close Monday after considering a possible merger, said Frances C. Birmingham, who leads the board. The school had planned to reopen in September, she said. “Our overwhelming debt, our lack of financial stability, and the reduced number of students all were major factors,” Birmingham said Thursday.

The statement from the school in its website:

Declining enrollment and mounting financial difficulties have made it necessary for Elizabeth Seton Academy in Dorchester to bring its ministry of Catholic school education to young women to an end, it was announced August 3. The school will not be operational for the 2016/2017 academic year. In an August 3, 2016 letter to families, Chair of the Board of Trustees Frances Birmingham, described insurmountable challenges that have saddled the school. She writes, “For more than a decade Elizabeth Seton Academy has offered families a private, all girls’ Catholic college preparatory high school experience. Despite limited resources and enrollment challenges, Elizabeth Seton Academy has carried on its mission valiantly since 2003. This decision is based on the school’s current financial situation, increased debt obligations, declining enrollment, and increased costs of operations.” A student/parent meeting will be held in the days ahead to respond to and assist students and families in transitioning to one of the area Catholic schools that have offered assistance to the students. The faculty and staff have committed to help facilitate in connecting families with the new schools, host open houses and offer guidance for students and their families. The school’s faculty and staff were informed on August 3. Details concerning their severance packages and unemployment benefits were provided and teachers’ resumes will be shared with other Catholic schools in the diocese. Elizabeth Seton Academy was established in 2003 in the spirit and values of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, as a private, Catholic all girls’ college preparatory high school that provides a nurturing community for learners. At Elizabeth Seton Academy, each student is an important part of a community whose spirit accompanies every phase of student life, whether it is athletics, cultural and social events, or daily schoolwork. This spirit of community is a feeling of loyalty to our school that promotes an atmosphere of respect and cooperation that is essential to the learning process. Each student contributes her own unique talents and gifts to this community and enriches the school spirit at ESA. The spirit serves as a common bond –a feeling of belonging- that will remain with each student throughout the years – and will be sorely missed in the community. It is the Board’s hope and prayer that students will continue their education at one of the local Catholic schools. This would be the greatest testament to the spirit and legacy of Elizabeth Seton Academy.
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