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Bishop Connolly, Mount Alvernia families frustrated as Catholic high schools closing

Families frustrated as pair of Massachusetts Catholic high school set to close with little notice
Families frustrated as pair of Massachusetts Catholic high school set to close with little notice 02:20

NEWTON - Families are frustrated after learning that a pair of Massachusetts Catholic high schools will permanently close at the end of the school year.

Mount Alvernia High School, the Newton all-girls Catholic school for grades seven through 12, will close its doors in June and merge with Fontbonne Academy in Milton. The school's Board of Directors said it is Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception are selling the land.

Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River will also close. The Fall River bishop blamed a decline in enrollment and the financial impact of the pandemic as factors for their decision.

"I pretty much had my whole senior year planned out already. I had all the classes I wanted to do and all the sudden today I got the news no senior year. Now I have no idea what's going to happen," Bishop Connolly junior Rylee Klein said.

"Everybody is heartbroken. It's a really good school. It's a small school but everybody knows everybody, so everybody is really friendly," Bishop Connolly freshman parent Monique Lepage added.

That friendliness is what freshmen will miss, as they're now forced to face another new year in a new school.

"The first day there I met a lot of friends, and everybody was like a big family. Caring and nobody was judging anybody, everybody was friends," said Ryan Lepage of the warm welcome just months ago in September.

Transfers from Coyle and Cassidy, which closed in 2020, will now add a third high school to their transcripts. Juniors are feeling devastated by their stolen senior year.

"I'm probably looking toward Stang but I'm not too sure. I was dead set on Connolly. I didn't expect to have to leave," Klein added, sadly,

Bishop Connolly school leaders - heartbroken themselves - held a zoom meeting to try and offer some information about admissions to other schools, financial aid, and transportation. 

Classes at Mount Alvernia are canceled Thursday, but support counselors are available. 

"There is a lot of disappointment and sadness. It was like a home to me. Now I just feel kind of lost with what to do," junio Sofia Gaurino said. "We were all looking forward to looking at colleges. Now we have to look at high schools instead, and I guess colleges at the same time."

Mount Alvernia parent Kristen Perullo expressed her frustration with the timing of the announcement.

"We've heard that they voted to divest their land back in April 2022. Had we known, I think some families could have made some alternative solutions and plans," she said. "If the sisters wanted to sell the property, that's their right. I feel it was very disingenuous how all of this went down. They took our money, we raised a lot of funds at our annual gala. I think they owe us some answers as well."

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