St. Piux X Regional Academy in Westerly will be closing at the end of the school year.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s Catholic School Office made the announcement Tuesday after Bishop Thomas J. Tobin approved the closure, citing a “sharp, projected decline in student enrollment."
“This is a result of a rapid decline in enrollment and increased financial deficits,” according to a press release, which also noted that the decision was made per the recommendation of Reverend Michael Najim, who is the pastor of St. Pius X Parish, as well as Superintendent of Catholic Schools Daniel Ferris.
“I take this opportunity to offer my sincere admiration and appreciation to Father Najim and his predecessor, Father Ray Suriani, as well as the administrators, teachers, staff, volunteers, parents and students who have done their very best to maintain Catholic education in the Westerly area for many years,” Bishop Tobin said in the release. “The closing of the school certainly is not the result of a lack of commitment or desire, but rather, a reflection of the changing demographics that are affecting many schools, public and private, in our region and in many parts of our country.”
Ferris shared similar sentiments.
“St. Pius X Regional Academy has been a model of personalized learning, faith formation and character development,” Ferris said. “Over the years, the graduates have proved highly successful in high school and college. This is a difficult loss for the Diocese. It is a difficult loss for the parishes that support the school and it is a loss for the families that have entrusted their children to the school and seen them flourish and grow in body, mind and spirit.”
The release went on to note that there are 118 students enrolled in the school, but that number will significantly drop due to a large graduating eighth-grade class this year.
“News of the closure was shared with the school faculty and staff on Tuesday afternoon and parents were notified by email and written letter on the same day,” with an informational meeting to be held this Thursday at 6 p.m. at St. Pius X Church at 44 Elm St.
“The principal and teachers will make every effort to place students at other Catholic schools in the region,” the release stated. “Teachers and staff will be provided priority assistance in securing positions at other Catholic schools in the state.”
St. Pius X Regional Academy educated students from pre-k through grade 8.