HAMILTON, NJ -- A school that has been known by generations of Hamiltonians as St. Anthony's, McCorristin, and finally as Trenton Catholic Academy (TCA) for the last 15 years, has announced that it will be closing. Citing financial struggles that have left the school with a "$2 million deficit each year and a cumulative need for $24 million in financial support over the past 12 years," the Diocese of Trenton accepted the recommendation of TCA president Michael Knowles to close the Upper and Lower Schools in Hamilton Township in June.
The school noted the "growing cost of providing a quality, innovative education has consistently outpaced tuition and fundraising income" as well as the economic impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the ability of families to afford tuition and to strategic plans that had aimed to increase revenue.
Knowles said that TCA considered every possible option before deciding to close.
“We have truly been blessed by so many generous people who believed in this mission and backed it up with their ‘sweat equity.’” said Knowles, who has served as president since the death of Sister Dorothy in 2019. “We have had the most incredible leadership and dedication in our administration, our faculty and our staff. We are very proud of all of our students and the difference they will continue to make in their communities and beyond.”
The Upper and Lower Schools currently have 500 students and has graduated nearly 1,000 students with many moving on to top colleges and universities as well as prestigious careers. Several have advanced to play professional sports.
“It is a sad day for the Diocese of Trenton, Trenton Catholic Academy (TCA) and Hamilton Township," said Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin. Whether known as St. Anthony’s, McCorristin or TCA, there has always been a great partnership between the school and the Township. Hamilton is committed to helping TCA and the Diocese in the months to come. On behalf of the Township, I thank them for their nearly 60 years of providing a high quality, well-rounded education to those in our greater Hamilton community.”
Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt pointed out steps in place to assist TCA students transitioning to a new Catholic school next year.
“TCA students will be welcomed at Notre Dame High School in nearby Lawrenceville and at a number of Catholic elementary schools in close proximity to TCA so that Catholic education might continue to be available in Mercer County," said Schmidt
Dr. Schmidt also announced that the Diocese of Trenton intends to make some transitional scholarship monies available for the 2021-22 school year to students seeking to continue their education in one of the Catholic schools affiliated with the Diocese or its parishes. Knowles said that with the funds made available by the Diocese, a transition plan will be worked out with TCA families.
"As someone who attended a Catholic grammar school and understands the value and sacrifice that students and their families make to receive a parochial education, it's a sad day to see such a storied legacy end," said Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton). "The community contributions of Trenton Catholic Academy (TCA) and previously McCorristin High School will live on for generations to come through its proud alumni, educators, supporters and friends."
A team of diocesan representatives will meet with the 57 TCA employees to review severance and benefits packages, and to offer assistance in finding employment.
“I am very sad to hear the news of Trenton Catholic Academy’s closing," said Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton). "It’s schools have given students in our community a well-rounded education for the past 15 years. I know that Trenton Catholic will continue to give to our community through the work of its alumni for many years to come.”
The school noted the words of their late founding president St. Joseph Sister Dorothy Payne, who wanted her students to be: "Good kids that live good lives that make the world a better place."
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