Two local Catholic schools to permanently close

St. Mel's Catholic Academy. Screen shot via Google Maps.

St. Mel’s Catholic Academy. Screen shot via Google Maps.

The Diocese of Brooklyn has announced that six Catholic Schools will close permanently on August 31.

Among them are┬áHoly Trinity Catholic Academy in Whitestone and St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Flushing.

The diocese said the “devastating effects” of COVID-19 on enrollment and finances made it “impossible” for them to reopening this upcoming school year.

All six schools already saw a decline in enrollment over the last five years, but the registration totals for this year were “significantly down,” the diocese said.

Affected students and families will receive help to transfer to nearby Catholic academies. The Diocese of Brooklyn, through the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust, will provide a one-time grant of $500 for each child from a closed school enrolling in a new Catholic academy in Brooklyn or Queens.

“This is an incredibly sad day for our Catholic community to have to close these schools, but the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic is insurmountable,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Schools.

“The difficult decisions come after the intense analysis of the financial picture of each academy.”

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Center for the Women of New York reopens in Fort Totten

CWNY Ribbon Cutting

Over the weekend, the Center for the Women of New York (CWNY) celebrated its grand opening at its new facility on Fort Totten.

CWNY was founded in 1987 by Ann Juliano Jawin as a nonprofit membership organization. The group works for full equality for women’s rights.

The center offers women a safe place for their exploration of short-term, low-cost career paths. It includes a legal clinic, referral service, job club, financial clinic and support groups for women in crisis and victims of domestic violence.

For five years, CWNY had a building at 401 Weaver Street on Fort Totten. The city evicted the center, and after a legal challenge, they reached a compromise to restore a historic landmark building at 207 Totten Avenue.

The site had not been used or maintained in 35 years, and required a lot of expensive renovations, estimated at $3 million.

Borough President Melinda Katz, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, Assemblyman David Weprin, Councilman Paul Vallone and former Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza provided the funding, along with private donors.

For now, CWNY will operate on the building’s first floor while funds are raised for the rest of the floors and an elevator.

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