Trinity Catholic High School in north St. Louis County will close after this school year because of low enrollment, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Louis said Thursday.
The school has seen a “steady and dramatic” enrollment decline to 284 students this year, including 77 seniors. Only 37 students were projected to enter next fall as freshmen. A financial analysis also showed that ongoing maintenance expenses were prohibitive for the school, built in 1959, according to the Archdiocese.
Trinity Catholic traces its roots to Mercy High School in 1948. Mercy merged with St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florissant in 1985. St. Thomas Aquinas-Mercy then merged with Rosary High School in Spanish Lake in 2003 and was renamed Trinity Catholic.
Trinity is the only Archdiocesan high school in St. Louis County. Its tuition, about $11,000 per year, was among the lowest for private high schools in the region. The school’s football team won the Class 3 state championship in 2018. Its boys’ and girls’ track and field teams won state titles in 2019.
Peter Frangie, a spokesman for the Archdiocese, did not comment on the number of staff layoffs. Assistance will be provided to families for transferring their students, and to staff members for job placement services, he said. Counseling also will be available.
Many of the other Catholic high schools in St. Louis County already offer transportation for students in the area.
“The Catholic High School Association of the Archdiocese of St. Louis will continue to walk hand-in-hand with and hold in prayer the students, parents, faculty and staff of Trinity Catholic High School during this difficult time,” read a statement from the Archdiocese.
Faced with shuttered feeder schools and declining birth and baptism rates, Catholic high schools across the St. Louis area are scrambling to attract new students by running shuttles to outlying areas, airing television and radio ads and offering new merit scholarships.
Catholic high school enrollment in the St. Louis region has declined 22% over the last decade, mirroring a national trend. Nearly 1,000 schools have closed nationwide since 2009, according to the National Catholic Educational Association.
Two of Trinity’s top feeder elementary schools, Christ Light of the Nations in Spanish Lake and Most Holy Trinity in north St. Louis, closed permanently last spring because of financial losses from the pandemic. Another two feeder schools have closed in the last five years — Academy of St. Sabina and St. Angela Merici in Florissant.