By Aidan Graham
Bensonhurst’s Bishop Kearney High School will close its doors for good on Aug. 31, according to the head of the all-girls school’s parent organization, who cited several factors in the “painful” decision.
“Over the last few years, declining enrollment, changing demographics, reduced income and increased expenses have required cuts to faculty and services,” said Sister Helen Kearney, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
The Roman Catholic school, located at 2202 60th St., has been educating teenage girls in Kings County since 1961, according to the school’s website.
While the 2019 class will graduate as planned, school reps have assigned coordinators for each lower grade to assist with transferring students to other educational institutions for the upcoming academic year.
Before the decision to close was made, the Board of Trustees had approved the 2019-2020 academic year tuition of $10,825. The school, which claimed a 100 percent graduation and college attendance rate, had projected to welcome 227 incoming freshman next year, according to its website.
Grief-stricken alumni took to social media on Tuesday to express their sorrow at the closing of the beloved institution.
“So sad, it was a great school that launched successful and good women,” said Tina Ombrellino. “I’m happy to have spent my high school years there.”
One graduate of Bishop Kearney’s 1989 class, who called the announcement “absolutely heartbreaking,” used the occasion to reflect on the sense of community she felt at the school.
“Those 4 years at Kearney were the best. So many people, who were not a part of the kind of sisterhood we had at Kearney, look back at high school and are thankful it’s over. Me? I would do it over in a heartbeat,” wrote Nanine DeLuca. “So thankful for my time spent at Kearney.”
One 1984 graduate spoke of how the school affected her future, and mourned what the school’s current students will lose after Monday’s announcement.
“Those 4 years with the Sisters of Saint Joseph gave me the courage and optimistic attitude to continue on to University and Graduate School,” said Rosina Mason. “I am crying right now at what our future girls will miss out on. I pray that all the girls find good, clean, and safe schools to finish out your academic years. God bless all the nuns and teachers who devoted their time and lives to our girls.”
Once the school officially shutters in August, the Diocese of Brooklyn will make a determination about the future of the building, according to Bishop Kearney’s website.
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