I am a graduate of St. Francis School in Naugatuck. My two daughters are alumni.
My mother and grandmother are graduates. Four generations of my family went there.
I am happy that the Saint Francis School Building will continue to be used to educate children in the future. It would be sad to lose this school for a number of reasons.
Future catholic school students and the borough’s finances would be hurt if these students would have to be absorbed by the district.
However, the school building will no longer be St. Francis of Assisi. The building is proposed to be called St. Theresa School. I think this is a monumental mistake and people should make their opposition known.
They will lose the allegiance of many graduates of the graduates from both institutions. As many people age, and become financially secure, they start to contemplate how they can “pay back” the institutions and community that helped them achieve success and stability. When a letter of solicitation comes from the old grammar school asking for a donation, would a graduate be more inclined to donate to St. Francis St Hedwig Catholic Academy or St. Theresa, a name with no connection to the community or schools?
I have no recollection of the teachers or friends or parents of friends that I met at St. Theresa’s. I do have a lot of memories of my friends and teachers and parents of friends at St. Francis. A lot of good memories. There are no emotional connections to St. Theresa.
That thought process, whether conscious or subconscious, will impact people’s donating and support decisions dramatically. This proposed name change will have a direct, immediate, and irreversible impact on the financial viability of St. Francis School.
Perhaps next year the news story will read, “Naugatuck closes Catholic school due to lack of support and decreased enrollment.”
Let’s honor the history and legacy of St Francis and St Hedwigs Schools by combining these names to more intelligently move the new institution forward to a brighter, alumni-supported future.