Mercy SF to close in June after 68 years

Mercy+High+School+on+19th+Avenue+in+San+Francisco+announced+in+January+that+it+will+close+its+doors+in+June%2C+after+nearly+seven+decades.

Sophia Carrasquilla ’22, Mercy SF

Mercy High School on 19th Avenue in San Francisco announced in January that it will close its doors in June, after nearly seven decades.

Grayson Salomon , Staff Reporter

After 68 years of educating the young women of San Francisco, Mercy High School will close its doors at the end of the academic school year on June 1, 2020.

“The trustees and administration have worked tirelessly to preserve the important mission to which we have been devoted for the past 68 years and are incredibly disappointed that we are unable to keep Mercy’s doors open,” said Head of School Sister Carolyn Krohn ’65.

Mercy is one of the last all-girls high schools in San Francisco next to Convent of the Sacred Heart and ICA Cristo Rey Academy.

The main reason for the closure was being unable to reach financial needs and stability. There are multiple reasons why reaching financial stability was impossible, such as a decrease in enrollment over the past two decades, financial aid promised to the students always falls short $5,000 of actual costs, and operating costs, including salaries, and the need to meet the needs of faculty and staff, according to Mercy Communications.

“The lack of stable financial support has hurt the school’s ability to meet the financial needs of families seeking a Catholic high school education at Mercy,” according to Mercy Communications.

There have been multiple attempts and ideas explored, but no solution could properly get the school to financial stability.

“We had so hoped that we would find a solution to Mercy’s challenges, but unfortunately, even with the multiple strategies we have explored, it is just not possible,” stated Krohn.

Some students have taken the announcement as a challenge, and are not willing to give up. They still hold out hope that they can save Mercy. On Jan. 10, shortly after the announcement of the closure, a GoFundMe donation page appeared with the title “SAVE MERCY SAN FRANCISCO” with a goal of $5 million created by members of the Class of 2021.

“My friends and I did research into the amount needed to keep the school open and running, which included faculty and staff salaries, financial aid, and all operating expenses. Although the amount was at first an estimate, once we received detailed information from our head of school, we concluded that $5 million would be close to the amount needed to keep the school operating,” said Gigi DiGiulio ’21, one of the creators.

As for the rest of the students, sadness permeates the hallways, especially for current juniors, with next year being their graduation year.

“I guess the mood is a mix of being heartbroken and confused, but also hopeful and having a feeling of strength in our community needing to come together,” said DiGiulio.

English teacher and Mercy alumna Diana Assereto said, “I had so many feelings and thoughts running through my head when I first heard of the closing, but the overwhelming feeling was sadness because I have such wonderful memories of my time at Mercy.”

She added, “I received a very solid education and felt extremely prepared for college academically. It feels like a part of my past and a part of the city will be lost in a way, but it will be up to us to continue to live in service as the Sisters of Mercy and our teachers modeled for us.”

The closure, being close to deadlines for transfers to other schools, has caused stress for students trying to beat the deadlines to find a new school for the 2020-2021 school year. Mercy Admissions and staff have been trying to help the students during this time of change.

“Along with counseling to ensure student wellness, Mercy put on a High School Information Fair, hosting 20 high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area ready to accept transfer students next year. We are working with local school admissions directors to streamline the application process for Mercy students,” according to Mercy Communications.

Even with the GoFundMe, the chance of Mercy being saved is unlikely, given the huge financial hill it would have to climb.

According to Mercy Communications, “This currently does not seem possible, but the Sisters do believe in miracles.”