(Erie, PA) Friday, June 9, 2017 marks the end of an era for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania when, after 125 years, Villa Maria Elementary School will close its doors. The school has been a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph since it was founded in 1892.
The announcement to close the school was made last fall after consideration of several factors, including the Erie Diocese’s establishment of the Erie Catholic School System. “We believe that together we are stronger and can more effectively fulfill the Gospel mandate of preaching and teaching God’s Word,” said Mary Herrmann, SSJ, Leadership.
Several events and activities are taking place to commemorate the end of the school year and the closing of the school. Plans include field trips, the annual Villapalooza for students and alum, an all-school mass and an end of year assembly where each student is recognized for his or her accomplishments. The last graduating class of 8th grade students will be honored at graduation on Thursday, June 1. The last day for students, Friday, June 9, will include the annual student field day prior to an early dismissal and Waldameer picnic.
“The VME family is made up of loyal, dedicated, and supportive families as well as a hardworking, talented, and committed faculty and staff,” said Damon Finazzo, Villa Maria Elementary principal. “While it’s never easy to bring an end to an extraordinary institution like VME, I cannot think of a better group of people to help accomplish such an endeavor.”
“We are grateful to Damon and for each VME student, parent, faculty member and employee who have made the Villa difference what it is,” said Herrmann.
The Sisters of St. Joseph have demonstrated a commitment to Catholic education since first arriving in the Erie Diocese in 1860. The congregation founded Villa Maria Elementary, Villa Maria Academy, Villa Maria College and staffed numerous diocesan schools.