Our Lady of grace Catholic Academy in Howard coast was among four spiritual schools that were announced to close in the fall.

You are watching: Our lady of grace howard beach

picture by Michael Shain

The Diocese that Brooklyn announced last Thursday that four Catholic institutions in queens are permanently closing.

The diocese blamed the financial effects the the COVID-19 pandemic on enrollment because that making it difficult for them to reopen. The tendency is not a new phenomenon. Demography shifts have likewise led to dwindling enrollment at plenty of of the borough’s Catholic colleges for years.

The schools encompass Our Lady’s Catholic Academy in southern Ozone Park, ours Lady of elegant Catholic Academy in Howard Beach, holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Whitestone and St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Whitestone .

“This is an very sad day for our Catholic community to have to close this schools, however the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic is insurmountable. The complicated decisions come after ~ the intense analysis of the financial photo of every academy,” claimed Thomas Chadzutko, superintendent that schools.

Together the shuttering schools have seen a decline of enrollment over the last five years, but the pandemic offered as the critical straw. The diocese said registration totals because that the upcoming school year were under significantly, together a an outcome of extensive unemployment. The kings schools, together with two much more closures in Brooklyn, have superb $630,000 in tuition bills for the past school year.

Phyllis Inserillo, a pre-K teacher in ~ OLGCA, told the Chronicle that she’s worried about the time of the closure on the students, who are already being traumatized through the pandemic. She said that she’s been helping plenty of of the around 98 displaced families discover a institution for next year. Numerous of them have been may be to deliver to St. Helen Catholic school in north Howard Beach.

“I desire the ar to understand that us didn’t sit ago and let the happen. We dealt with until the minute that they make the announcement,” Inserillo said.

Doreen DeCandia, chairwoman of OLGCA fundraising, who Inserillo described as the “breath in the lungs of the school,” stated she was devastated by the closure.

“For 18 years, I operated to raise funds to keep the viability the OLGCA and also to enhance the academic status that the school. In fact, I had secured multiple benefactors to help us implement new programs because that the upcoming college year,” wrote DeCandia in a statement. “OLGCA’s close up door is specifically heartbreaking since the diocese pledged to keep us open up in February and offered help to assist us grow. Then, the pandemic occurred, and that promise seems to have been forgotten.”

“I’m saddened because that the parents, the students and the college administrators. This is not a confident step because that the community,” said state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), whose district encompasses Our Lady that Grace.

“In mine time as state senator alone, the variety of private Catholic college closures has actually been farming at an amazing rate. My issue now shifts, now that we’ve shown OLGCA is close up door — what is the fate of the building? how does that building continue to serve the community?” said Addabbo.

To aid families shift to other adjacent Catholic institutions, the Diocese that Brooklyn will administer a one-time $500 financial grant for each boy from a closed school enrolling and also attending another Catholic elementary school academy or institution in Brooklyn or kings this loss through the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust.

Despite the closures, the Diocese of Brooklyn insisted that various other parts that its education and learning system stay resilient.

“Our smaller and caring community of schools has many advantages as observed by how conveniently we adjusted to remote learning this spring. In grades K-8, us were virtually one come one, college student to gadgets with data plans, an tremendous feat which permitted for distance discovering success in our schools,” Chadzutko said.

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) issued a explain lamenting the closure of two Catholic academies that loss within his district.

“I to be saddened to find out the news that both divine Trinity Catholic Academy and also St. Mel’s Catholic Academy will permanently near this summer due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis. I am involved to watch educational alternatives reduced throughout such complicated times because that our borough and also our city, which already suffered from overcrowded schools,” Vallone said.

For those who satisfy the gaue won eligibility, tuition assistance is available through Futures in education at futuresineducation.org.

See more: Contract: Devil By The Witcher 3 Devil By The Well, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Quest


Since the announcement by the Diocese, St. Mel’s Catholic Academy has actually opened registration for very early education center for youngsters entering nursery college through 3rd grade. Major Amy Barron clarified the St. Mel’s Catholic Academy is closing, but added that the early on childhood center will take it its place.