St. Peter the Apostle School to close at end of school year
March 26, 2019
Catholic Schools Superintendent Debra Haney informed school staff and parents March 7 that St. Peter the Apostle School in Houston, shown above,will close at the end of the spring semester because of dramatically falling enrollment and rising costs. The Archdiocese is exploring possible future plans for the campus, including repurposing it into a Catholic vocational high school offering technical training in health occupations, computer services and other skills, she said. Photo courtesy of the Catholic Schools Office.
HOUSTON — Catholic Schools Superintendent Debra Haney met with teachers and parents March 7 to announce the closing of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School at the end of this semester because of drastically declining enrollment over the past few years.
“Regrettably, despite the concerted efforts of the pastor, principal and volunteers, school enrollment has declined at St. Peter’s by more than 70 percent in the last five years,” Haney said.
“Rising costs combined with steeply declining enrollment have made it financially impossible to keep the school open,” she said. “This was a very difficult decision. We value what St. Peter’s did for the community and we are so very thankful for the efforts made by all to keep the school open as long as we did.”
Father Faustinus Okeyikam, MSP, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, said he and supporters had canvassed the church and school’s neighborhood off Old Spanish Trail and beyond in an effort to recruit more students for the school.
“I have gone out with the principal, teachers, parish council and some parishioners and parents to hand out our school flyers and talk about the school in our neighborhood whenever we have done neighborhood evangelization,” said Father Okeyikam.
“Our parents have tried to raise funds, but it hasn’t been enough to sustain the school. We placed ads running for three months in the Texas Medical Center magazine since we are in that proximity. So we definitely did try,” he said.
School principal Toni Marshall, said that she, the faculty, and the advancement coordinator, worked diligently to successfully obtain the school’s accreditation and other improvements over the past three years. Additionally, to offset operating costs, the “Spirit of St. Peter Annual Fund” was begun as well as “Annual Family Fun Day” for families to tour the school, meet faculty and have food and fun on campus.
The Archdiocese will continue working with the remaining students and their families to make this transition as seamless and organized as possible, Haney said. The school office will assist in transferring student’s records and transcripts to any school public, private, or Catholic. The Archdiocese will also be working with the uniform company to ensure that families receive uniforms for a new Catholic school at no cost.
Possible future plans for the building is to repurpose it as a career and technical Catholic high school similar to Mercy Career & Technical High School, a private Catholic high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is currently the only co-educational Catholic vocational high school in the United States with education in health occupations, business, computer services and other technical training.
Haney said, “One possible use is as a career and technical Catholic high school. If our plan comes to fruition, we are hopeful that the current students will return and graduate from St. Peter the Apostle Catholic High School.”
“A technical career high school sounds like a good idea and would be something new for the neighborhood and community,” the pastor said.
A special ceremony will be planned to honor the school’s 77 years of service to the St. Peter the Apostle Catholic community. All current and former students and staff, and their families, will be invited.
“We will continue to keep the St. Peter community in prayer during this time of transition, and we thank our supporters for their continued commitment to Catholic education,” Haney said.