When in the span of a few short months a 187-student primary school, the oldest Catholic school on Long Island, might face the threat of a complete shut-down, clearly something is wrong.
The school’s finances have come under fierce scrutiny in the past week, leaving the Diocese to call on parents to ban together and raise a quick $90,000 ($50,000 of which has allegedly already been pledged) to help the institution get back on its feet by September 2011.
However, there are many parts to every tale.
While these issues are serious and should not to be taken lightly, it’s important in such trying times to take a step back from the swell of financial scrutiny and look at the bigger picture.
As much as this is a time for everyone in the Stella Maris community to work toward fixing the school’s current problems, it’s just as important for the community at large to recognize why these problems are worth fixing in the first place.
For decades, generations of Sag Harbor residents have graduated from the school, many of whom are now living and working in the community. As they were then, today’s students are an integral part of this community, involved in activities like Scouting, charity fundraisers and other service projects that contribute to the well-being of those who live in and around the village.
And it should go without saying that the school’s current principal, Jane Peters, is a large part of the school’s positive presence on the East End. Regardless of whether you have a direct connection to Stella Maris, there’s a good chance you know Janie Peters because of her good work in the community.
As Stella Maris embarks on what will be a difficult self-examination in coming months, we need to remember there’s an important community of children, teachers and staff members there who need and deserve the support of everyone in the community as they take the next step on their journey.