Rosati-Kain to stay open in St. Louis as Catholic girls’ school under new name, sponsor

ST. LOUIS — A team of Rosati-Kain supporters has reached a deal with the Archdiocese of St. Louis to keep the Catholic girls’ high school open in the city’s Central West End.

The 111-year-old school on Lindell Boulevard will be called Rosati-Kain Academy and sponsored by St. Joseph Educational Ministries.

“We are elated to be able to assure our students, our families, and our teachers and staff that Rosati-Kain will remain open,” said Cynthia Goudy, chair of the school’s board and a 2003 graduate.

The archdiocese announced in September it would close Rosati-Kain and St. Mary’s high schools in spring 2023 as part of its “All Things New” downsizing plan for parishes and schools.

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Supporters of both schools mobilized to raise money and operate as independent, nonprofit Catholic schools. Earlier this month, the newly named St. Mary’s Southside High School agreed to terms with the archdiocese on a lease of its campus on south Grand Boulevard.

The five-member board of Rosati-Kain Academy, which includes four alumnae of the school, will also lease its school buildings and parking from the archdiocese. More details of the agreement will be released in January, according to the board.

Recruitment will be a challenge for Rosati-Kain, where enrollment dropped from 248 to 188 in the last year. But supporters say families can feel confident about the school’s future, which had been the subject of rumors about impending closure.

Jennifer Welsch of south St. Louis County said her daughter, a sophomore at Rosati-Kain, did not want to look at any other schools for next year.

“Now she’s going to be able to graduate from a school that she chose, that she loves, that is different from any other school in St. Louis because of its diversity and its academic excellence,” Welsch said. “That’s huge.”

Rosati-Kain in 1947 became one of the first St. Louis high schools to integrate. More than half of the current student body is Black or Hispanic.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones released a statement saying she is “thrilled” the girls’ school is staying open.

“It’s inspiring to see the community rally around Rosati-Kain,” Jones said. “Our schools are anchors for our neighborhoods, and I am thrilled that Rosati-Kain will continue to serve a diverse student body in the coming years.”

The short-term plan calls for raising $10 million for operations and scholarships at the school, where about 80% of students receive financial aid. St. Joseph Educational Ministries, Rosati-Kain’s new religious sponsor, also sponsors Fontbonne University and St. Joseph’s Academy in west St. Louis County. The spiritual but not financial partnership is required to be considered a Catholic school by the archdiocese.

St. Joseph Educational Ministries was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet, who opened Rosati-Kain in 1911 along with the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The St. Louis Archdiocese says it must close churches in the area in order to meet the needs of a changing congregation of Roman Catholics.

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