MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va.—It is with deepest regret that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announces that, following a sharp decline in enrollment at All Saints Catholic School in Moundsville, there is no recourse but to close the school before the upcoming school year.
Enrollment at the school for the 2015/16 school year was 74 students. For the 2016/17 school year, that number fell to 51. After an open house and registration period for the upcoming 2017/18 school year, 32 students, 10 of whom are children of faculty and staff, are enrolled at the school in grades kindergarten through eighth-grade—with grades one through seven each containing four or fewer students.
According to Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese, the decline in enrollment has created a situation for which the diocese has no other decision.
“All Saints Catholic School was a great opportunity for the children of Marshall County to enroll in, and benefit from, a strong foundation in Catholic education,” Schmidt said. “The Diocese of Wheeling–Charleston believed in the school, having invested over $850,000 in the school’s programming, its professional staff and the school building in just two years. However, 32 students in a K-8 program is not the best environment for optimal educational outcomes for school children. Low enrollment, again, has claimed a school that had a bright future of service to the community. I thank Father That Son Ngoc Nguyen, pastor of the school; Sheila Blackmore, All Saints principal; all of the staff and families that committed countless hours in dedication to the school.”
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston understands the hardship that is created for the families who chose to continue to call All Saints Catholic School their home. To help ease that hardship, Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, will provide a $1,000 scholarship for any student who wishes to continue their Catholic education at another Catholic grade school within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston for the 2017/18 school year.
All Saints Catholic School was created in 2015 after the devastating fire that destroyed St. John’s Church in Benwood and left substantial damage at Ss. James and John Grade School, rendering it unsafe.