The Crusader Staff
The future of San Francisco’s oldest all-male Catholic high school, Archbishop Riordan, will be decided by the end of next week, according to correspondence from the ARHS Administration sent to parents via email on Thursday. The institution has been “exploring” options to convert to co-education for the past few weeks. If agreed upon, Riordan will begin admitting female students in the fall of 2020.
This decision will come on the heels of Mercy High School’s announcement that they will shut down at the end of the current school year due to lingering financial and enrollment issues. Shortly after, Riordan’s administration released a statement regarding the situation, dedicating themselves to developing ways to “assist” and “analyze” the displaced students from Mercy.
The Board of Trustees agreed to pursue further information regarding the possible transition. Unlike their sister school’s situation, Riordan’s financial status is secure.
“While we are proud to be the last all-boys’ Catholic school in San Francisco, we must also consider the long-term market demand for single-gender education,” stated President Andrew Currier in an email sent to parents. “Please know, there is zero chance of Archbishop Riordan High School closing its doors. Riordan is in a position of spiritual, financial, and academic strength.”
Many Catholic elementary schools in San Francisco, “feeder schools” for the high schools, have seen their enrollment plummet over the past few years, which is another core reason why the current discussions are being held.
“Well, I’m not against it,” said student Hayden Peregrino ’21. “I don’t mind, but the only thing I’m worried about is the possible lack of facilities and making sure we have certain things for girls. Other than those concerns, the change makes sense for the future.”
Caesar Ruivivar ’86 is an alumnus and current parent at Riordan, so he sees the situation from a different perspective.
“I’m sure I don’t speak for all alumni, but I do believe I share the sentiments of most of them. I would like to see the 70 years of tradition preserved—the all-male model works,” said Ruivivar. “We all know the brotherhood is unique and embodies all the things we hold dear about Riordan. I hope we can preserve that for another 70 years.”
The administration has worked at carefully plotting out different scenarios of accepting the Mercy students and working their way to a full-go on accepting girls. In addition, surveys have been sent to alumni, parents, teachers, and students. At a recent parent meeting, the administration felt optimistic about the reception from the Crusader community but understands the concerns many have and have voiced.
“Our community appears largely in favor of considering the option of accepting applications for girls in the future as part of a long-term plan,” Currier wrote. “We all have significant concerns about the abrupt opportunity being considered at the moment.”
At the end of the day, the decision will rest in the hands of the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone. If he approves, the final decision and announcement by the Riordan administration is expected by the end of the week. As for now, forecasting data, analyzing financial models, and consulting with the community will be used to help unveil a final determination.
UPDATE: Archbishop Riordan High School has made a decision, click here to view our story