COLLEGE POINT — On Jan. 13, St. Agnes Academic High School announced it will be closing at the end of this school year. Sister Peggy McVetty, OP, prioress of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville, wrote the “decision to end 112 years of excellent education had been most difficult.” The high school had been co-educational for 40 years before becoming an all-girls institution in 1949.
“The financial realities during the past several years have made it impossible to sustain the school,” the letter continued. “The unprecedented economic projections and ramifications of the pandemic have only complicated the previously existing difficulties.”
The 2020-2021 tuition, plus the non-refundable registration fee and technology fee for returning students, totaled $10,075.
Families attended virtual meetings to voice questions and concerns to the Leadership Council of the Sisters and St. Agnes’ administration. The school also stated it’s trying to develop a plan that would allow current juniors to accelerate their studies and earn a St. Agnes diploma by August, if they so desire.
St. Agnes Principal Susan Nicoletti sent a letter to the students who had applied for the fall — encouraging them to reach out to The Mary Louis Academy, the only all-girls high school remaining in Queens, as well as other Catholic high schools.
Eighth-grader Hannah Maher listed St. Agnes as one of her three choices on the TACHS exam in November. Her mother Teresa thought Nicoletti’s call to their residence on Jan. 13 was in regards to the admissions determination. Instead, it was confirmation that St. Agnes would no longer be operating.
Hannah’s older sister, Brianna, said the graduating class hopes the closure isn’t a done deal.
“Even though it’s my senior year, it still affects me because I was looking forward to visiting my friends and other grade levels, coming home from college on one of my days off, and sitting in class with the rest of them,” Brianna said.
Within hours, alumnae flocked to Facebook, asking what could be done to reverse the decision. Alumna Robin Loesch, who was part of St. Agnes’s centennial graduating class in 2008, was devastated. She said she appreciated how St. Agnes provided her with stability and support as she navigated the foster care system during that time.
“I was becoming a more compassionate and confident woman, which is really important to me coming from my background,” Loesch said. “St. Agnes was this family I knew I could count on and would be stable for me because I didn’t have that growing up from either side of the people I lived with.”