St. Brigid-St. Augustine School opened on Wednesday - WFSB 3 Connecticut

St. Brigid-St. Augustine School opened on Wednesday

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A partnership Catholic school opened on Wednesday. (WFSB) A partnership Catholic school opened on Wednesday. (WFSB)

After a summer of Catholic elementary schools closing in Greater Hartford, Saint Brigid Augustine in West Hartford opened for classes on Wednesday.

The start of classes at Saint Brigid Augustine comes just two weeks after the closing of Saint Mary School in Newington. Parents were forced to find an alternative for their children after the school closure.  

Exactly two weeks ago, protests broke out after families of 109 Saint Mary School students were told the building being closed by Catholic leaders just two weeks from the start of fall semester.

People like Sarah Ashborn, whose 4-year-old Lina was enrolled at Saint Mary School, said they were irate.

Parents learned of a new partnership with Saint Brigid Augustine and Ashborn said her anger subsided.

“Accommodating they accepted everybody here,” Ashborn said. “The transition seems smooth so far.”

In March, families at St. Augustine, which was Hartford's last Catholic school, were told the school would close at the end of the year.

“I was upset. I was sad,” parent Jenna Arcata said. “We got used to kind of the St. Augustine Family.”

Both closures were blamed on finances. Hartford Archdiocese Archbishop Leonard Blair said the closures are a sign of the times.

“Like so many schools public and Catholic, we're funding ourselves caught in a situation of enrollment and finance that is very challenging,” Blair said. “Certainly it is not intention ordinarily to have such short notice, but in this case it became a necessity.”

Saint Brigid is now St. Brigid-St. Augustine, a partnership school, which includes many of the students from St. Augustine and St. Mary and many of their old teachers.

“She's my only child, so it's super important,” Ashborn said. “I need to make sure when I'm at work all day that she's comfortable, happy being taught, being taken care of and kind of learning values about life.”

School officials said there are now 160 enrolled at St. Brigid and the hope is to grow enrollment from there.

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