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Thursday, October 28, 2010

So Long, St. Rose

St. Rose Academy in Mayfield closes for good tomorrow.

First, a little history.  St. Rose Academy opened five years ago after the Catholic Diocese of Scranton closed Sacred Heart Junior-Senior High School in Carbondale.  A group of parents and people in the community thought they had a better idea, and I admired their pluck.  St. Rose Academy was a Catholic school, but it ran without any help from the diocese.  I was there on the first day of school, and the enthusiasm and optimism were amazing.

St. Rose Academy purchased the old vo-tech school in Mayfield.  The business plan called for rent from other tenants, plus tuition to cover the mortgage payments.  Unfortunately, enrollment never cracked 80.  There were a few financial set backs.  The bad economy dried up contributions.  Bills weren't paid.  Employees went without money.  The school lost control of the building at a sheriff's sale in the summer.

Enrollment dwindled to 30.  Administration pulled the plug last week.

My sources tell me that there are still some hard feelings up there because we were the first to report the school's financial problems.  Other than national security and the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken, there are no secrets.  St. Rose's unsteady financial footing was going to get out eventually, and it would have been unfair to enroll students when you knew the future was in doubt.  Facts are facts.  You can't, and shouldn't hide the truth.  The people in charge could have done a better job of making its case to the public and potential students. 

I will say that any time I encountered a St. Rose student, they were always polite and well spoken.  They did a great job of representing the school.  Everyone involved with the school, past and present, should feel good that they at least tried to offer an alternative when Sacred Heart closed.

I learned a long time ago that you do your best and let the angels take care of the rest.

So long, St. Rose.