CALDWELL, NJ — Trinity Academy in Caldwell was on the list of nine elementary schools that the Archdiocese of Newark announced last week would be closing at the end of this school year.
The school will remain active through the end of the school year, with lessons and assignments continuing to be administered via distance-learning platforms in compliance with the statewide mandate.
"Nationwide, changing demographics and increased competition from public and secular private schools have contributed to ongoing declines in Catholic school enrollment, decreasing the long-term viability of many school communities," the archdiocese said in a release.
"Sadly, Trinity Academy was informed it will be closing its doors this June," Trinity Principal Linda Payonzeck wrote in an address that appeared on the Trinity Academy website. "We are all heartbroken by this decision. Trinity Academy has been a service to our wonderful Trinity family and community since 1991 and will be greatly missed.
"Trinity Academy has been home and heart for so many for so long. We would like to provide outlets for our community, since we can't be together," Payonzeck said. "We have created a VidHug video page, for Trinity Alumni, Community and Friends to share their memories of Trinity Academy and thank all those who have made a difference in their lives. Please share your video before the end of May, We will share the video on Social Media and our Website the final week of school, June 8."
The Trinity Academy VidHug page can be found here.
A group of parents of Trinity Academy students has launched a Save Trinity Academy Facebook page and is planning a letter-writing campaign to Cardinal Joseph Tobin. The Facebook page can be found here.
Darlene Taylor, a Trinity Academy parent, has helped to spearhead the Save Trinity Academy campaign. She has sent to the Trinity community a letter that she is suggesting that parents send to Cardinal Tobin. In part, it reads:
"Trinity Academy is our children’s home away from home, a beacon of light and love for every family in the history of our community. To us, Trinity is FAMILY. Our children see their teachers they love as their mentors, as their safe guidance through these troubling times. We are now being forced apart and forced to separate children from their educators, their stability, and most importantly, from their faith. I implore you now to speak up for us, for our children, for our Trinity Academy family.
"During an emergency pandemic and state-wide shutdown, please tell the Archdiocese this is NOT the time to displace children and declare permanent closures. Tell them that we love Trinity Academy and will fight to keep it open. We will fight to ensure our children have the ability to maintain continuity and consistency. This is our number one priority. We will stand together to keep what we love and fight to continue to provide the best faith-based education to our children. We implore you, Cardinal Tobin, give us the opportunity to save our school!"
The last day Trinity Academy held in-person classes was March 13. Lessons have been online since then due to the statewide shutdown of all public and private schools during the worldwide pandemic.