By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
St. Joseph Catholic School in Tuskegee, which has operated for more than 75 years, will not reopen this fall.
The school was founded in September 1944 when four Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters came from their motherhouse in Wisconsin. A nursery school and kindergarten were opened in the basement of St. Joseph Parish’s church and 43 children were admitted.
A school building was added the following year and 163 students attended grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Grades seven and eight were added the following year.
Enrollment has dwindled in recent years. St. Joseph Parish Pastor Fr. Mateusz Rudzik and Principal Mary Florian cited enrollment and finances as the reasons for closing in a letter to parents and guardians.
“We have carefully examined the sustainability of the school, and the low enrollment prohibits us from reopening for the 2020-21 school year,” the letter stated.
“St. Joseph has a long, rich history and has been part of the Tuskegee community for the past 75 years, so this is not an easy decision to make.”
The school had about 30 students enrolled each of the past few years and about only 10 were enrolled for the 2020-21 school year, making the decision necessary, but still painful.
“It is heavy on my heart to see St. Joseph Catholic School come to a close as I have traveled to visit the school for many, many years,” Archdiocese of Mobile Superintendent of Catholic Schools Gwen Byrd said. “In my visits, I have seen students eager to learn and teachers engaged with their students.”
Archbishop Rodi added: “I was deeply saddened upon learning of the decision to close St. Joseph Catholic School. It has provided generations of young people with an excellent academic and spiritual foundation. At the same time, the decline in enrollment made this decision unavoidable. I thank all who have done so much to support the school through the years. I wish the outcome would have been otherwise.”
By ROB HERBST