JENKINTOWN, Pa. – The Provincial Council of the Sisters of Saint Bail the Great on October 8 announced the closure of Saint Basil Academy in Jenkintown, Pa., at the end of the 2020-2021 school year after nearly 90 years of service to the community. The all-girls’ high school was founded by the sisters in 1931. The sisters noted that the decision was painful, difficult and heartbreaking.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Sisters of Saint Basil explained: “As we close this final chapter in our school’s history, we will continue providing quality education for our students until our last day, and we will work closely with families and faculty to help them find alternative choices for their futures.”
An informative online meeting was hosted on October 13 to answer many questions from the community, and to explain the plan for the next eight months.
The school explained its financial hardships, including not being able to sustain the school on tuition alone, even after having launched a vigorous Sustainability Campaign – appealing to families, alumnae and other contributors to help save the school. The campaign ultimately fell short of its goals to establish a $3 million to $5 million endowment, generating $300,000 in annual giving and retaining at least 60 students for the freshman class.
The school administration expressed its appreciation to all who contributed time and money toward the effort, but sadly noted the impact of COVID-19 on families and the realization that the school cannot overcome the monumental financial and enrollment challenges that have resulted in decreased enrollment and less revenue through tuition.
Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski (OSBM), provincial superior of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, stated in her informative letter to the community:
“…As we close this last chapter in our school’s long and proud history, we hope to continue to provide for our students through the end of the school year. Pending COVID-19 regulations, we are committed to fostering a full year of academics, athletics, drama and student traditions. We recognize the challenges this decision presents to our students who hoped to finish their tenure here at Saint Basil Academy, and we are currently exploring all options to enable our students to find alternative choices for their futures. …Throughout the school year, we will take great care to honor the legacy of Saint Basil Academy and the dearly held memories of its alumnae, families and faculty, and we ask that you join us in honoring the many lives our school and our community have changed for the better.”
In addition to founding St. Basil Academy, the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great based in Jenkintown, Pa., were also instrumental in building a printing house, Manor College and the Basilian Spirituality Center.
For additional information, readers can visit Saint Basil Academy’s website, www.stbasilacademy.org.