Merged New Bedford Catholic school gets a new name — plus a gym, a STEM lab and more
NEW BEDFORD — A new Catholic school formed from the merging of St. James-St. John and Holy Family Holy Name schools will be known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta School, Diocese and school officials announced Thursday.
The selected name came as the result of collecting family, staff and student input and the prayerful reflection of Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, St. James St. John Principal Cristina Viveiros-Serra said. “Our bishop took in all the information and feedback and prayed about it, and now we’re looking forward to a new school year under this great new name,” Viveiros-Serra told The Standard-Times.
More space means new STEM lab, full-size gym
The project entails continued operation at the existing St. James St. John School at 180 Orchard St., with major renovations to the abutting Kennedy Youth Center at 377 County St. to make it the new home of Saint Teresa of Calcutta School’s middle school grades as well as some shared facilities.
“Our STEM lab will certainly open up opportunities for all of the students at our new school, pre-K to grade 8, and we’re also excited to have a full-size gym that will serve many purposes — a cafeteria, a space where productions and events can take place, as well as being great for the sports and activities aspect of our school,” Viveiros-Serra said.
Currently, Holy Family Holy Name School, at 91 Summer St., is the only one of the two schools with a STEM lab.
What to expect: enrollment, project completion, tuition
According to Catholic School Alliance Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment Sandi M. Duxbury, the “enrollment goal” for the opening of the new school will be 325. Current combined enrollment for both schools is 330, Duxbury said, noting that officials expect the project to be complete in time for a late-August opening of the school year.
Tuition, Duxbury explained, will not be impacted by the project, however there will be a small increase due to other reasons. “Tuition has not been impacted because of the project as 100% of the tuition is allocated to covering the costs of teacher and staff salaries as well as normal operational costs of running a school; i.e. heat, electricity, internet, etc.,” Duxbury wrote via email. “Moreover, the proposed 2022-23 operating budget accounts for an increase in these costs as our Catholic schools are not immune from inflationary pressures and therefore, we reluctantly had to pass some of that cost along to our families.
“That said, we are making every effort to mitigate the impact through access to financial aid for more of our families.”
The Diocese currently does not have a plan for the Holy Family Holy Name school building, which it currently retains ownership of, Duxbury said.
Saint Teresa and New Bedford
On June 14, 1995, Saint Teresa of Calcutta — then-known as Mother Teresa — visited New Bedford. The visit stands as a momentous occasion in the city, as crowds lined County Street to greet the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner as she made her way to visit the city’s local chapter of her own Missionaries of Charity. During the visit, she spoke at St. Lawrence Martyr Church nearby. In a June 16, 1995 article published by the Diocese of Fall River’s The Anchor, the visit was described as “one of the biggest days in the history of the 91-year-old Fall River Diocese and the 148-year-old Whaling City of New Bedford.”