In a move that shocked the southwest Brooklyn education community, Bishop Kearney High School, the venerable Catholic school that has educated generations of girls since 1961, is closing its doors forever.
And in an added shock, the school is closing as soon as August, officials informed the faculty and students on Monday.
The school, located at 2202 60th St. in Bensonhurst, has faced declining enrollment and rising costs for several years. It has been dogged by rumors of its impending closure in the past and has always managed to stay afloat.
Named in memory of Bishop Raymond Kearney (1902-1956), the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, Bishop Kearney High School opened its doors in 1961. The school is sponsored by the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, a Catholic order of nuns.
The end came swiftly.
The school’s impending closure was officially announced in a letter by Sister Helen Kearney, the congregation’s president. Kearney is the niece of the late bishop for whom the school is named. She is also on the school’s board of trustees.
In her letter, which was posted to the school’s website, Sister Kearney wrote about the school’s mission.
“For 58 years, dedicated administrators, faculty and staff have proudly served with our sisters in this mission. But today, we are faced with a difficult reality. Over the last few years declining enrollment, changing demographics, reduced income and increased expenses have required cuts in faculty and services,” she wrote.
“After an extended analysis of the current status of the school and its viability, for the future, the Sisters of St. Joseph have reached the painful decision to close Bishop Kearney High School on Aug. 31, 2019,” the letter continues.
Bishop Brian McEntegart, who was the bishop of Brooklyn in 1961, predicted at the dedication ceremony for the school that year that it would be a successful academic institution. “In this school, young girls for decades to come will be taught the truths of God’s word. They will receive an education second to none,” he said.
Bishop Kearney High School has a celebrated athletics program, fielding teams in several sports, including basketball, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and volleyball.
In recent years, the school has seen several changes at the top, including the departure of presidents and other administrators.