Mount Assisi Academy in Lemont to close in May

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Sunday, February 9, 2014

After 65 years of educating young women, Mount Assisi Academy in Lemont will close its doors at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

The school announced its closing Jan. 29, citing declining enrollment and lack of resources as the causes. The school has 143 students enrolled this year over four grades, down from 315 students in 2007. Students come mostly from the south suburbs and the city’s Southwest Side.

“With this decision comes a deep sense of sadness,” said Sister Therese Ann Quigney, provincial of the School Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King, in a press release. Her religious community founded the school in 1951.

Kimberly Johnson Quinn, president of Mount Assisi, said she knew when she assumed her role a few years ago that the school might close.

Under her leadership, the school tripled recruiting efforts, revamped its marketing program and added a major gifts campaign.

“It just wasn’t enough to continue to provide the excellent education that Mount Assisi has been providing for 65 years,” Johnson Quinn told the Catholic New World.

The school is now looking forward, she said. It is assisting faculty and staff in finding other positions and offering professional resume workshops and out-placement services.

Staff planned to meet with juniors and their families about the possibilities of allowing them to graduate from Mount Assisi by offering classes just for them during the 2014-2015 school year.

“We have to see how much interest there is and what the possibilities are,” Johnson Quinn said.

The school is also working with families of the remaining students to help them find other Catholic schools for their daughters.

A declining interest in female single-sex schools was one of the main reasons for falling enrollment, Johnson Quinn said.

“It’s a fact that girls choose co-educational eduction more than boys do,” she said. “The co-ed factor is a deciding factor for many girls and it hurts us.”

More than 6,000 young women have graduated from Mount Assisi Academy since it opened. Plans for the building after it closes are undetermined. It is owned by the School Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King.

The congregation’s provincial center, Alvernia Manor Retirement Community and Our Lady of the Angels House of Prayer are also located on the grounds.


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