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St Raphael School to Close in June

Photo: QueensPost

Jan. 27, 2012 Staff Report

St. Raphael School, a Catholic elementary school in Long Island City, will be closing this June due to declining enrollment and rising costs, The Tablet reported yesterday.

Father Jerry Jecewitz, the pastor, sent a letter to parents on Jan. 20 that read: “We had agreed to a specific goal, strictly time-bound to last September, to raise the 160 students enrollment to 200. We needed to do so in order to combat the school deficit of $150,000 in the last fiscal year – a six-fold increase from the year before – and the projected deficit, which is fast approaching $200,000 in this present fiscal year.

The closing comes shortly after the school is celebrating its 50th anniversary in March. It also comes shortly after Corpus Christi School, a Catholic elementary school in Woodside, announced that it would close.

Announcements will be made in the coming days for transitional assistance to neighboring Catholic Elementary Schools, according to the Tablet.

On the school’s Facebook page, there are 35 comments, with one person writing: “It’s so sad. Some of my best memories are from my years there.”

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36 Comments

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V. Mendez

I attended St. Teresa’s in the 80’s when Mr. Abruzzo was the principal. I hated it!!! I was bullied everyday. I would get followed home and pushed around by the boys in my class. It took a sucide attempt to finally convince my parents to let me transfer to IS 125. The principal flat out told my father that one of the boy’s parents who had bullied me, donated money to the school. He couldn’t do anything about it. He said that I needed to get over it because life is full of obstacles. I was pushed to the ground, spit on and followed home, while they would shout names at me. I would cry myself to sleep every night.

I’m glad St. Teresa closed down but wish I could have confronted Mr. Abruzzo as an adult. I don’t blame all catholic schools but I read Finnely’s response and felt I had to share my story.

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JP Byrne

Mr. Finnely doesn’t know how blessed he really was, if it wasn’t for his catholic education he wouldn’t be making six figures. It only took the catholic school six years to educate him and get him started on his way to a brilliant Career. A child’s study habits and personality are formed and influenced by what he learns in the first seven years of his life.
So Mr. Finnely if you can read this you can thank the teachers and Sisters of St. Theresa’s School..
I must say the public schools pale in comparison to the catholic schools.
I can only thank god that my mother and father sent me and my sisters to a good catholic school like St. Theresa’s in Sunnyside.

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tony

St Sebastians is a wonderful school and will gladly accept the children from St Raphael for years to come. It is very sad that St Raphae;, Corpus Christi and Queen of Angels schools have closed. They were wondeful places! The fortunate part is St Sebastians is a solid school with all certified teachers and 2 classes on each grade level-therefore, it will be around for years to come if you enroll your child for next 10 years from preK to Grade 8.

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Don

There is a great option for St. Raphael’s School parents that is very nearby: Saint Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Academy in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Excellent academics, honors classes, great student/teacher ratio, lots of wonderful extracurricular activities, warm, friendly and family atmosphere – in a family friendly and safe neighborhood.

http://www.ststansacademy.org/

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Mike Novak

“St. Sebastian’s will benefit from this closing.” Its nothing personal, its just business.

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Scotgrl75

Unfortunately there are a lot of facts that are not know to everyone about our school closing.

Unfortunately the parents were not informed that the school was in jeopardy of closing until we received a letter in the mail.

Unfortunately there were tons of “untruths” in the letter that the parents received.

Unfortunately we were not given a chance to raise the money and enrollment.

Unfortunately this leaves 0 catholic elementary schools in 11104 and 11106.

Unfortunately the children from Sunnyside have been abandoned by their church!!!

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Monroedoctrine

I agree with NRO – these schools were good and the Bd. of Ed is already using their space.

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NRO

I don’t think the administrators of St. Raphael knew what to do when they saw enrollment shrink. They really needed to do very heavy recruitment and advertising and to reach out to alumni and their families. I think they could have raised the funds but the enrollment is another story. It is a shame. St. Sebastian’s will benefit from this closing.

Reply
NRO

Mike Novak is not nice! The City does rent space from the closed St. Teresa School and Queen of Angels and they already had leased a floor from St. Raphael in the “annex.” They may end up taking over those buildings now completely for the public school. What is sad is that the parochial schools in general turn out better behaved and better educated kids using less money than the public schools. This is not about “pedophile” priests or separation of church and tate and Novak’s blow was very low, indeed.

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John K. Wilson

Mike Novak,
I don’t understand your post. I believe (though I could be wrong) that you mis-understood mine. No one is talking about building new Catholic schools. That would be crazy when Catholic schools are closing. I am saying that the city could rent these empty buildings to relieve over-crowding in the public schools—and do so right away. Less tax money would be spent.
Unless, as velociraptor suggests, spending more tax money for buildings that are not needed is the point….

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Mike Novak

@ Bliss & Skillman “I think it is just representative of the decline in organized religious adherence these days. Church attendance is lower than it ever has been in America. Morality in America is just another snowball headed for hell.”

No doubt led by the pedophile Priests who are protected by the Church. 😉

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Mike Novak

“The Church” has more than enough money to pay for schools. And if in fact the Church is CLOSING a school because it cannot generate enough funds to exist, how can they justify the cost to build a new one?

If there is such a hue and cry for Catholic Schools in this neighborhood, how did the parishoners allow it to fail?

I for one am a firm believer in the separation of Church and State.

You want a new Catholic School? Pass the hat and stay away from my tax dollars, thank you. You are free to practice your religion, just don’t ask me to pay for it.

Reply
velociraptor

@JK Wilson

If there’s money to be made by contractors who contribute to politicians then new schools will be built regardless of what’s best for the community, regardless how many empty Catholic schools are ready for service.

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John K. Wilson

I’m very sorry for these school closings; much trauma to many lives. Sad. However, if they are to close anyway…

…”Pat”has the right idea: why build a new school on the (now vacant) site on 43rd St between Queens Blvd and 47th Ave, the former location of the Jewish Community Center, when there are so many already standing schools—the now empty Catholic schools? These empty schools could be leased; I believe there is a former Catholic school leased to the city on 41st St (is this correct?); so, there is a precedent. I’m sure the various local parishes could use the money, too. Then, the former JCC site could be used for a much-needed park: an actual green park…with grass and trees; an adult park. There would be no wait for construction of the school; they could be occupied this Fall. Workers would still be hired…to build the park. This arrangement would cost less money, and, I believe, make more people happy.
I suggested this scenario to Joe Kenton (I believe that is his name), JVB’s assistant. He told me that it wouldn’t be possible because, “one is a public school; and one is a private school.” I reminded him that that was why I suggested a “lease”. He said he would mention it to JVB as a suggestion.

Reply
Nancy

Public schools in this area are pretty good. At least the teachers have to be certified to teach, unlike the Catholic schools.

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DKB

Pat, actually the demographics of Catholic schools are changing–22% of the students aren’t even Catholic! That was the beauty of St. Raphael’s and also St. Sebastians in that the demographics are extremely representative of the neighborhood. 1/3 white, 1/3 hispanic, 1/3 asian.

Also, current stats are that the average Catholic school child costs the City $4,398 vs. $18,265 for Public. That’s why vouchers used to exist, it was still a bargain for the taxpayers, and much less expensive than educating a public school child.

I don’t usually know this much about the school systems in our areas, but have been doing a ton of research lately with the closing of St. Raphael’s. 🙂

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Bliss & Skillman

I think it is just representative of the decline in organized religious adherence these days. Church attendance is lower than it ever has been in America. Morality in America is just another snowball headed for hell.

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Pat

I went to St Teresa’s back in the days of the nuns .. Good education and some wonderful nuns, however we had some who were not too pleasant and left us with mixed thoughts on what they were teaching and their own behavior towards us ..

The publick schools in our area are good ones, just very overcrowded.
Plus side to these closings, maybe now the Bd of Educ can rent space in these closing schools, instead of building new schools, and make it easier for teachers and pupils to move forward and learn in a more constructive way …

Public school offers things a Catholic education does not. It offers a child the chance to learn to coexist with children of all backgrounds/religions, a valuable lesson for later life and opens up many extracurricular venues for them, that just are not offered in the Catholic school.

Always a plus side to these closings.

Reply
velociraptor

@Finnley

Saint Teresa’s has no H in it.

You went there all that time and never learned to spell it? That was obviously the teachers’ fault.

Reply
Raquel

Finnley, I’m sorry you suffered. Other people had better experiences. You sound very anti-Catholic.

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DKB

No more vouchers anymore, Finnley, so you have nothing to worry about. And, thank your lucky stars that you went to IS 125 when you did all those years ago. Otherwise, you would be in a school that currently has the following stats for ELA state grades – 5th through 8th grades scored at 44%, 49%, 47%, 42% of the state level, respectively. I’m also sure that you didn’t have to sit in a makeshift classroom that is a trailer in the middle of the schoolyard due to overcrowding. I am not anti-Public school, but nor am I going to put my child in a school that is FAR BELOW standards just to prove a point.

Ever notice how the politicians who brag that their kids are in the NYC Public School system are in Stuyvesant, Bronx School of Science, or the like. They’re not attending IS 125.

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Raquel

Some of the kids would definitely have to be bussed. They could put one school for pre -K to 4th and the other from 5th to 8th grades. There are kids in my building who take a private yellow bus to St. Raphael.

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Finnley

Screw em all, I’m glad they are gone. I went to St. Theresa’s and had a horrible education until the 6th grade until I went to PS 125. I would NEVER send my kids to a Catholic school. I am all city/CUNY educated, make well over 6 figures a year and I am grateful for it. No Catholic kid touchers are gonna hit on my kids. And yes there was plenty of that in the 80’s going on.

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Mary

Raquel – I think that while merging the schools is a good idea there is too much difference in distance to make that a feasible option.

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Raquel

St. Theresa gone; Queen of Angels gone; St. Mary’s gone; Corpus Christi and St. Raphael will be gone also. I know that the school rented space to the Board of Ed to defray costs. Could they not have rented out more space? I think the school could have raised the funds to close their budget gap – the big problem was probably attracting new students. It seems that the demographics of that neighborhood have changed and the parents don’t want to send their kids to a parochial school or can’t afford it. I feel terrible for the teachers. As for the kids, St. Sebastian is far away. There are no neighborhood Catholic schools left in the Sunnyside/Woodside area except for St. Sebastian which once again will benefit from the closure of a fine Catholic school.

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velociraptor

With all the astronomical sums of taxpayer money Washington has pissed away in the last 3 years on corporate bail outs, union bail outs, foreign aid, stupid wars, political paybacks and other corrupt activities, it’s a pity they could spare a few bucks for some good schools.

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DKB

This is heartbreaking and everyone is so sad and devastated. Such a wonderful little school with excellent principal, staff, children, and parents. It will be sorely missed.

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velociraptor

More children at the mercy of the incompetent public school system.

Sad.

At least they’ll grow up to be good and obedient democrats.

Reply

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