After months of fighting to stay alive, Rosati-Kain announced at a press conference this morning that the school will remain open for the immediate future after agreeing to a three-year lease with the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
On September 27, the archdiocese said it would withdraw funding from two high schools, Rosati-Kain and St. Mary’s, at the end of the 2022-23 school year as part of its “All Things New” consolidation initiative.
A bit more than three months later, the all-girls school in the Central West End has announced it will become an independent Catholic school with religious sponsorship from the St. Joseph Educational Ministries. It will adopt the name Rosati-Kain Academy.
At 10 a.m. on Friday, about 250 students, teachers, alumni and media members packed into the Rosati-Kain's basketball gym. The 30-minute program featured speeches, a prayer, a performance of the Rosati-Kain theme song and loud cheers that bounced off the decades of championship banners on the walls.
“The rapid response from our community inspiring collaboration tasks in true R-K fashion, captured the energy and drive of alumni and parents with a goal that we could not, and we would not, let this happen,” Interim President of Rosati-Kain Academy Cynthia Goudy said at the press conference. “The reason: There is no place on Earth, that’s quite special as far as Rosati-Kain.”
In early December, St. Mary’s announced that it had signed a three-year lease with the archdiocese and renamed itself St. Mary’s South Side Catholic High School. St. Mary’s, the focus of a recent Riverfront Times feature, devised a plan to fundraise up to $10 million over five years, with over $3 million already raised.
Rosati-Kain has done the same, officially announcing the news of its three-year deal with the archdiocese.
"We are pleased that members of St. Joseph Educational Ministries (SJEM), with the blessing of the St. Louis Province Leadership of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, have approved a request by the newly formed Rosati-Kain Academy to become the school’s canonical sponsor,” Todd Sweda, superintendent for secondary education and senior director, said.
The school intends to raise over $10 million over five years, Goudy says. She added that the school has already raised 65 percent of the funds for next year. Goudy says she feels good about the school's prospects.
“Look around,” she said, gesturing to the packed gym. “Like our alums, our students, the spirit that we all have — that's what makes me 100% very confident.”
Located at 4389 Lindell Boulevard next to the Cathedral Basilica, Rosati-Kain is one of the oldest schools in the area, founded in 1911. It became the first St. Louis school to integrate in 1947 and has remained one of the most diverse schools in the area, with a minority enrollment above 50 percent. But in recent years, the number of students dropped from 248 in 2021-22 to 188 this year.
For junior Talor Williams, who chose Rosati-Kain despite living in north county, the diversity is what makes the school special for her.
“I would say [Rosati-Kain] is important to me because it shows how diverse we are,” she said. “A lot of the other half of Catholic schools in the area, private schools, have a fraction of diversity that we have here.”
After months of uncertainty, a sigh of relief filled the gym.
“I finally feel good,” Goudy said. “It’s been some hard discussions … are we going to make it? But we have the spirit around us and it bleeds purple and gold.”
But the work's still not done as the school continues to fight to stay open. The next steps? “Planning, planning, planning, planning, planning, planning, accreditation, planning, planning," Goudy says.Coming soon: Riverfront Times Daily newsletter. We’ll send you a handful of interesting St. Louis stories every morning. Subscribe now to not miss a thing.
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