Friday, January 27, 2006

St. Mary's School RIP

A few weeks ago, I was trying to find some pictures online of my old parish church and school, St. Mary's in Fullerton, CA. I didn't find any photos, but I did see an announcement that after 80-some years, the parish school had closed in May of 2005, supposedly due to declining enrollment. There was also a strong hint in the newspaper story, however, that the closing may also have been related to the huge payouts the Orange County diocese has had to make as a result of the clerical abuse scandal.

Whatever the reason, it's sad. Only forty years ago, the classrooms of St. Mary's were bursting with 55 children each! And each class in my years there (1956-64) was taught by a habited nun -- the only exception being the kindly Mrs. Clark in third grade. (In case you've heard today's teachers complain about the noisy chaos in their classrooms of 25, let me assure you that our classrooms were always quiet and orderly -- and I never saw a nun hit anyone, with anything, to keep it that way). I saw from the website that class sizes had dwindled to between 15 and 20 before the end. And this despite the influx of Hispanic families to Fullerton, which should have resulted in a steady supply of new Catholic children to be educated.

It's sometimes difficult to grasp the enormous changes I've seen.