Outpouring of support saves St. Joseph School in Big Bend
Village of Big Bend - St. Joseph School, S89 W22650 Milwaukee Ave.,
will remain open after an announcement last week that it was to close.
Around since 1955, St. Joseph's is one of few remaining Catholic schools serving the Mukwonago area and maintains an enrollment of about 125 students per year in K4 through eighth grade.
St. Joseph's School announced Jan. 22 that it would close after this school year. According to Milwaukee Archdiocese Communications Director Julie Wolf, the school had been looking at advanced projections of budgets and did not see how it could continue to fund the school.
On Thursday, Jan. 24, the school and parish gave families an opportunity to discuss the news at a forum attended by nearly 175 people.
"There was just a huge swell of support from not only current students, but from members of the community and former trustees of the parish," Wolf said.
In what parent Shelly Wohler called "powerful, heartfelt testimony," parents, grandparents and others expressed the meaning of the school to their loved ones, many asking what could be done to save it.
"I believe the thought behind it was 'Give us a chance, and we will make it work!'," Wolf said.
The Rev. Dick Robinson of St. Joseph's Parish said it was heartening to see such energy and passion behind keeping the school going.
Robinson announced at the all-school Mass on Friday, Jan. 25, that the decision had been reversed, and the school would remain open.
"We are committed to the school to remain open. Like a marriage, this commitment is significant and requires work to flourish," Robinson said in a letter home to parents. "The school parents, with guidance from the Parish Council, will be expected to prepare a strategic plan with measurable goals to keep the school viable."
Catholic School's Week kicked off Sunday, and St. Joseph's proceeded with its open house. A followup meeting will be held for parents from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 31 in the parish hall to develop a strategic plan for the future of the school. A second open house will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 1, for parents and guests to observe live classroom activities. The school hopes these events will help to promote the value of the education they provide.
"It's the easy decision to keep the school open," Robinson said. "It's the hard part to sustain that decision."
Wolf said the archdiocese also plans to play a roll in helping the school move forward.
"We'll be doing everything we can to help market the value of a Catholic education in the area," Wolf said. "As a community we will work together to help the school be successful."
Top stories from the Lake Country area. Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
Do you have news or a nonprofit event that you would like to share with the community? Whether it's a community organization, a business, a local school, or a notable neighbor, we'd love to hear about it.
- Member celebrates 94th birthday Tues Apr 21st
- Celebrate Spring with Schauer Community School of the Arts
- Hamilton student experiences government program
- Hamilton Band Boosters host Annual Spring Tasting
- Hamilton drama to present “Charlotte’s Web”
- Local Chiropractors Discuss: Arthritis Doesn't Have to Mean It's Time to Slow Down
- Hamilton announces March students of the month
- AAUW Oconomowoc awarding two local scholarships
Lake Country residents share their views on news, happenings and current events.
LivingLakeCountry.com features more than a dozen community bloggers - a group of volunteer conversation leaders who are up on the latest topics and never short on an opinion. Just a few are pictured here. Check out the rest and see what they have to say!
View All Blogs
Do you want to become a Community Blogger? LivingLakeCountry.com welcomes your thoughts and opinions. Contact us for more information:
I want to blog