Archdiocese decides to close San Vicente Catholic School for good
After 67 years and thousands of student graduates, San Vicente School in Barrigada will be shut down for good. The decision was made following a severe drop in student enrollment. Archdiocese spokesman Tony Diaz told KUAM News, "It's a really, really sad day. Not just for San Vicente, and not just for our Catholic community, but our community in general because many people have grown up or know people who went to San Vicente."
"Really, there's no recourse but to close the school," Diaz continued. "Because as most everyone knows, the heart and soul of a school, a private school, is operations, and sustenance is the tuition."
Last year they had 107 students, which was already considered low, this year's enrollment, even with a last-minute push from an alumni group, was just over 40. And Diaz says in one kindergarten class there was only one student.
He says the difficult economic times played a major factor, noting, "Our superintendent, Father Val Rodriguez, made it a point to talk to each parent of students that indicated they were leaving after last school year and many of them said, 'Father, it's just the hard times - we can't keep up.'"
Some were also moving to other villages, and Diaz says the Catholic School System itself was scrambling to find administrators to run the school. The CSS is reaching out to help accommodate students at other schools.
"We thank all the families and students and alumni for their patience. we grieve with them, this is a time for grieving. But we also know as a church, our Lord takes care of us, as He's been taking care of our entire island, and, in fact, the world."
Diaz says he doesn't know what will become of the property, and if it might be liquidated as part of the ongoing clergy abuse bankruptcy case.
Meanwhile, San Vicente Alumni spokesman Senator Frank Blas, Jr. said they believe that any solution they could have come up with would be "all for naught, because the decision was made prior to our involvement."