Stella Maris' Shocking Closing
Monday evening, in the middle of the school term, the leadership of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Brentwood, told the stunned parents of the Stella Maris High School, Rockaway Park, students that the school will be closed by August 2010. This information was stated without pre-notice, without counseling, without any program pre - paration for the well being of the students, without the review of options that would continue the operation of this 66-year-old school.
The cause given was low enrollment in an area of Rockaway Beach's Catholic parishes of St. Camillus, St. Francis de Sales, St. Rose of Lima, St. Gertrude, St. Genovese, St. Mary Star of the Sea, and St. Thomas More; with St. Virgilius in Broad Channel, and St. Helen's and Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach. Leadership and parish recommendations would surely fill the classrooms of Stella Maris with the many young students of these parishes, with the school offering a great education, after school programs, and low travel time between home and school.
Now, what happens to the students? The seniors will graduate but from freshman to junior years a turmoil for parents and children seeking new schools, getting accepted by a school, and getting accepted by a new existing student body.
This is a shocking action by the Sisters of St. Joseph, and a disaster to the teachers, parents, and the student body of this close knit high school community left with no options for Stella Maris to remain open.
Hard to imagine, but it seems to be happening.