Bishop Kearney H.S., an all-girls high school in Bensonhurst that was founded in 1961, is shutting its doors this summer. The Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph, the school’s administrators, has decided to close Bishop Kearney on Aug. 31. The Diocese of Brooklyn will continue to own the building. “For 58 years dedicated administrators, faculty and staff have proudly served with our sisters in this mission, but today we are faced with a very difficult reality. 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, C.S.J., president of the Sisters of St. Joseph, in a letter to parents.
Bishop Kearney was named after the late Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Augustine Kearney, the youngest auxiliary bishop ever in Brooklyn. He was an auxiliary bishop from 1934 until 1956.
The class of 2019 will graduate on June 1 at Our Lady of Angels Church, Bay Ridge, the final commencement ceremony of the school.
“Over the years the Sisters of St. Joseph have eased the school’s financial pressures by assuming some of the school’s costs,” Sister Helen said. “The effort to improve the financial security of the school through rental of a significant portion of the facility has not been sufficient to offset the losses.”
Tuition at Bishop Kearney had been slowly rising, and the school had been dealing with rumors of an impending closure, according to reports.
Pre-paid tuition for the 2019-20 school year was fully refunded to students’ families this week. All staff and faculty will continue to be employed according to their contract basis.
In an FAQ, administrators addressed concerns about student transfers. Four “transition coordinators” are being assigned for each class, from next year’s seniors (class of 2020) to incoming freshmen (class of 2023).
Coordinators will meet with students and their families to assess academic goals, review grades and financial situations, and help find a new school.
They will also help next year’s seniors with their college application process, including transcripts and recommendations. According to the school, transcripts will be emailed to all current students for free. (Transcript requests can be ordered through the CSJ website: https://brentwoodcsj.org/
As for incoming freshmen, the transition team will also help transfer accepted students into another high school in the area.
As for the upcoming summer, long-standing school activities (like the Welcome Bar-b-que, Summer Experience and Volleyball Camp) have been cancelled, and there will be no summer school classes.
Scheduled alumni reunions will continue offsite.
The School’s Legacy
“The legacy of Bishop Kearney High School lives on in our alumnae. As women who shape the present and future, alumnae will undoubtedly take the lead in organizing reunions and events using the tools of social connectivity readily available in today’s world,” said the Sisters of St. Joseph. “This has been a very difficult decision, and we understand the painful impact on your lives. To continue to operate with decreased enrollment resulting in ongoing financial duress would not be conducive to a positive educational environment.
“In this school, young girls for decades to come will be taught the truth of God’s word,” said Bishop Brian J. McEntegart, at the time he dedicated the school on Nov. 2, 1961.
“They will receive an education second to none.”
Bishop Kearney was one of five diocesan high schools opened following an historic diocesan fundraising drive.
For more information and details on the school’s closure, please visit Bishop Kearney’s website.