Guardian Angel, nearly 123 years old and the last Catholic elementary School left in Chelsea, will shut down at the end of the current academic year as part of a new rounds of closures announced by the Archdiocese of New York last week.
“It feels like one of the cornerstones of Chelsea is going to be gone,” said Eddie Edmonds, 58 the oldest of five siblings who graduated from there that included three brothers, Danny, Darrin, and Donn, and the “baby of the family” his sister Sheri Edmonds.
“It’s really sad news,” he said. “It feels like Chelsea is changing so fast.”
“I made my best friends for life there and we still get together, regularly,” said Edmonds a security guard in Times Square who still lives in the Penn South condos.
In addition, a nephew, Jayson Colorado, also went on to graduate from there. “It’s sad news, I spent my whole childhood there,” said Colorado, now a junior and playing football at Marist College where he majors in finance and entrepreneurship after four years at Poly Prep.
The School and church on tenth Avenue near 21st St. had already absorbed St. Columba parish on 331 West 25th St. in 2015. The St. Columba School, which was over 150 years old which had already been forced to close its school in an earlier extensive round of school closings by the Archdiocese back in 2006.
St. Brendan’s on 331 West 14th was renamed as Our Lady of Guadalope at St. Brendan’s in 2006 in a sign that the Irish dock workers who had built many of the parishes originally had been replaced by a new wave of immigrants from Latin America. But St. Brendan’s School had already been forced to close before the merger.
The Archdiocese said it will close 12 Catholic elementary schools including five in Manhattan, six in the Bronx and one on Staten Island.
“It is never a good day when we announce closures to any of our beloved schools, but the goal is always to strengthen the remaining institutions and preserve Catholic education in New York for decades to come,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, said in a Feb. 15 press release.
In addition to the 12 school closures, four additional schools in the Bronx will merge into two.
“We are doing everything we can to minimize the impact this will have on families and will provide both educational guidance and pastoral support to all those affected to ensure all children will be warmly welcomed into a nearby Catholic school. We are all in this together, and with hard work and God’s blessings, we will come out on the other side,” Cardinal Dolan said.
The statement said that the archdiocese will welcome any families affected by the closures into nearby Catholic schools. One source said that the Archdiocese had spent $28 million in the past year on supporting struggling schools.
The archdiocese said the closure was due to financial instability and changing demographics made worse by the decline in enrollment due to the pandemic. There are currently about 53,000 students in schools across the archdiocese.
The schools that will not reopen in addition to Guardian Angel include four others in Manhattan: Academy of St. Paul and St. Ann in Harlem, Ascension School on the upper west side, Immaculate Conception in the East Village and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Inwood.
In the Bronx, the closures include Holy Family School–which counts Jennifer Lopez as a graduate; Immaculate Conception School on Gun Hill Rd. (but not an Immaculate Conception School on 151st St. which was converted to a charter school operated by the Partnership Schools); Santa Maria School; St. Angela Merici School; St. Brendan School (not to be confused with the Manhattan parish and previously shut down school) and St. Margaret Mary School. One school in Staten Island was also on the hit list, St. Christopher
The archdiocese said St. Francis Xavier and St. Clare of Assisi in the Bronx will merge, as will St. Gabriel School and St. Margaret of Cortona in the Bronx.
“It feels like one of the cornerstones of Chelsea is going to be gone.” Eddie Edmonds, 58 and the oldest of five siblings to graduate from Guardian Angel School.