Consolidation of Catholic schools in Stamford elicits mixed reactions from parents

STAMFORD – Erica Visokey enjoyed the intimate atmosphere of Holy Spirit School.

But the days when she had her daughter in a middle class of 11 students are coming to an end.

There could be as many as 25 students in a new consolidated Catholic academy in Kindergarten to Grade 8, a combination of the city’s four parish primary and secondary schools that will open this fall.

“I was looking for smaller classrooms, more a sense of small community,” Visokey said, noting that Holy Spirit was the only school where it “had that vibe”.

“I felt like this could be my kids’ house,” said Visokey, who decided to transfer her daughter to St. Patrick’s School in Bedford, NY.

Bishop Frank Caggiano announced earlier this month the restructuring plan, which will bring elementary students from Holy Spirit, Our Lady Star of the Sea and Sainte-Cécile together in one building. Students will attend St. Cecilia until 2020, when they will transfer to the renovated Trinity Catholic Middle School.

Visokey and other parents believe the two-step transition will be disruptive for their children, but Bridgeport spokesman Brian Wallace said the bishop “must act now.”

Visokey, who is vice president of the Holy Spirit Parents Association, felt compelled to decide to enroll her children in the combined school, as priority enrollment for current families ends Wednesday. She recognized the need to consolidate, but said “we are all pushed together” instead of waiting for the college building to be renovated.

“There is no right time and there is no perfect solution,” Wallace said, noting that the goal was never to save a building.

“It’s about saving the system, saving the mission.”

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