With Trinity’s closure, there are 15 independent Catholic high schools remaining in the county, including the last co-ed school, Barat Academy in Chesterfield. Enrollment at many of those has been trending downward.
Despite mostly staying open for in-person learning during the pandemic, Catholic schools nationwide experienced an enrollment drop of 6.4% in the last year, the steepest annual decline in nearly 50 years, according to the National Catholic Educational Association.
Two of Trinity’s top feeder elementary schools, Christ Light of the Nations in the Spanish Lake area and Most Holy Trinity in north St. Louis, closed after the 2019-2020 school year. Two more feeder schools closed within the past five years — Academy of St. Sabina and St. Angela Merici in Florissant.
Enrollment at Trinity has fluctuated over nearly two decades. In 2005, two years after Trinity opened, the school cut one-fourth of its teaching positions when enrollment fell to around 400. Archdiocesan officials thought the cutbacks would stabilize the school.
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“The Archdiocese is very committed to having Catholic education in North County,” Terry Edelmann, a school spokeswoman, told the Post-Dispatch at the time.
In 2011, the Catholic Education Office at the Archdiocese started a scholarship program to recruit more students to its schools. The efforts paid off at Trinity Catholic, where enrollment was on the rise by 2016. Tuition peaked at about $11,000 per year — among the lowest for private schools in the region.
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