HAMDEN / MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Amidst changes within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford comes the announcement two Catholic schools will be closing their doors at the end of the school year. St. Stephen’s in Hamden and St. Joseph’s in Meriden will be closing their doors and students encouraged to attend other nearby Catholic schools.
St. Rita’s in Hamden will be taking in about 107 students from the St. Stephen’s community. Principal Patricia Tiezzi said that is a population increase of nearly 25%.
“I am excited because it will give us more opportunities to grow our programs. I’m somewhat nervous how we’re going to move all those people, the equipment over to the building. We have to free up some space here,” said Tiezzi.
St. Rita is not the first Catholic school to have to adjust. Since 2015 seven other schools in the district have closed. Sister Mary Grace Walsh, Provost of Education, says they are working to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“It’s difficult to close a school. There’s no question. it’s easier for students than it is for parents,” said Sister Mary Grace.
Asked about the impending move parents at St. Stephen’s declined to go on camera but News 8 found a couple of kindergartners willing to share their thoughts.
Kayden told us he visited the new school and said it was nice. He especially liked that there are a lot of kids and a cafeteria. Emma said she is excited to go because her cousin is already a student there.
The kids are keeping the change simple. As changes sweep the Catholic community in the next few months that’s what everyone involved hopes to do as well.
“There’s a lot of collaboration going on at this time and I think it’s actually a very exciting time,” said Sister Mary Grace.
“Change is good. Change is good and healthy for everybody so I’m looking forward to having changes made to incorporate some of the traditions with St. Stephen’s with the traditions of St. Rita’s,” said Tiezzi.
Students currently attending St. Joseph’s in Meriden are being encouraged to enroll at nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Sister Mary Grace says decision to close schools come directly from the Parish.