St. Rita and St. Stephen Unite in 2017-2018 Academic Year
HAMDEN, Conn. (March 13, 2017) – Saint Rita School on 1601 Whitney Ave., and Saint Stephen School on 418 Ridge Rd., located approximately one mile from each other in Hamden, will become one school, effective in the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year. Rev. Thomas W. Hickey, pastor of Saint Stephen Church, announced the decision on Monday evening at a meeting with school employees, board members, and parents at Saint Stephen School. Both parish-owned schools also notified their communities by electronic communications on Monday.
According to Rev. Hickey and Rev. Philip J. Sharkey, pastor of Saint Rita Church, the combined school will educate pre-K through grade eight students at the Saint Rita building, which is the larger of the two school buildings. Currently, 317 are enrolled at Saint Rita School and 150 students attend Saint Stephen.
“After careful reflection,” said Rev. Hickey, “we have determined that it is best for Saint Stephen School to integrate its students into Saint Rita School. This was a difficult decision, but one that was made with the long-term interest of the students at heart. Both schools are vibrant communities with rich traditions of quality Catholic education. However, we have been looking at growth and viability projections ten years into the future, and decided that it was better to combine the schools now, while we both are strong and healthy financially.” Rev. Hickey emphasized, “It is important to note that neither school is failing. The decision to move to the Saint Rita location was made because it can accommodate both school populations and still have the room to house more students.”
“We hope to make the transition from one school building to another as smooth as possible for our students, and are committed to preserving the traditions, cultures, and best practices of each school in order to make students as comfortable as possible,” said Rev. Sharkey.
Patricia Tiezzi, principal of Saint Rita School, will continue in this role at the combined school. Saint Stephen School principal Maria Testa will join the St. Rita leadership team as a vice principal, and Sr. Anne D’Alessio, ASCJ will continue to serve as a vice principal. Mrs. Testa assured the Saint Stephen School community that she will be highly involved in assisting students through the transition and ensuring that the “values and traditions of Saint Stephen’s will become a part of their new school community as it joins with Saint Rita’s.”
“I look forward to working with Mrs. Testa and know that she will be a great addition to our leadership team. The entire Saint Rita community will join me in welcoming Saint Stephen students and their families with open arms,” said Mrs. Tiezzi. “Our goals are the same; to provide outstanding education within a Christ-centered and nurturing environment, and to prepare our students to be innovative thinkers and morally responsible citizens. The students always come first.”
The decision to become one school came as a result of the pastoral planning process occurring throughout the Archdiocese of Hartford. Decisions regarding the parishes in Hamden are still under consideration.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Maria Zone
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Hartford