St. Agnes will close its doors in spring 1

Two years after students celebrated St. Agnes Academic High School’s 110th birthday, the all-girls institution announced it would permanently close its doors at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, citing financial struggles.

After more than a century of educating the young women of Queens — and for many years the young men, too — St. Agnes Academic High School in College Point will be closing its doors.

The Leadership Council of the Sisters of Saint Dominic, who founded the school in 1908, revealed the decision in a Jan. 13 letter, citing years-long financial struggles.

“The unprecedented economic projections and ramifications of the pandemic have only complicated the previously existing difficulties,” Sister Peggy McVetty, prioress of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville, said in the announcement.

The school will permanently close at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

Nancy Connors, the director of advancement for the all-girls private school, told the Chronicle Principal Susan Nicoletti and her assistant principals are working with families and neighboring Catholic high schools to transition the students’ education to other facilities if they should choose to continue private instruction.

Holy Cross High School, located just over 3 miles away, released a statement encouraging families to contact the school directly if interested in transitioning over.

“It is with our Mission in mind that we offer our guidance and assistance to any family affected by this sorrowful news that is committed to continuing their child’s education in the catholic tradition,” Assistant Vice Principal of Admissions Robert Botero said. The school had previously been single-sex, but began accepting female students in 2018.

Similarly, St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows is welcoming not only displaced students to apply for the fall, but St. Agnes faculty and other staff.

Neither school knows the number of St. Agnes students they would be able to assimilate into their facility at this time, but Prep President Brother Leonard Conway said the admissions staff would consult student academic reports and may seek letters of recommendation.

With St. Agnes’ closing, The Mary Louis Academy will be the last private all-girls high school in Queens and could become a popular alternative for the College Point students. TMLA did not have information on its planned admissions procedure upon a Chronicle request.

For third-year students uninterested in transferring to another school for their senior year, St. Agnes said it would provide an opportunity for juniors to graduate by the end of the summer.

Connors said the accelerated program will be “designed specifically for each student,” and that the students will work toward completing requirements for a New York State Regents Diploma.

The St. Agnes student population is approximately 280 young women, but the number of students looking to take advantage of the accelerated program is unknown at this time.

Because of strict Covid-19 guidelines and social distancing mandates, St. Agnes is not planning a goodbye event for its students and alumnae, though it does hope that conditions will allow for a gathering in the spring to honor the 112-year-old academy.

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