With the end of the school year approaching, Bishop Robert Deeley joined with students, faculty, staff, and parents in celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving for the gift that Holy Savior School in Rumford has been to the parish and the community.
“I know all of you appreciate this gift that you have received and how important it has been in your life and in the lives of many, many people in this community,” the bishop said
The school, which has served the Rumford area for more than 100 years, will close at the end of the school year, a move attributed to several factors including financial concerns and declining enrollment, reflective of the area’s demographics.
During the Mass celebrated at St. Athanasius & St. John Church, located across the street from the school, the bishop expressed his sadness at the closing, but he also told those gathered that it’s important to remember and to give thanks for all those who have made the school so special throughout the years, from the women religious who were its first teachers to those who attend and serve there today.
“It’s sad to see the school close. There is no question about that, but today, we want to give thanks for the gift it has been, and the special place it has held in the community, and the way it has helped so many young people learn about the ways of God and the ways of the world,” the bishop said.
Those who have been a part of the school say that it has been a gift to them, and they will miss it.
“It has helped form quality human beings. The thing that has been such a joy for me as the pastor has been just engaging and interacting with students,” said Father Nathan March, pastor of Holy Savior Parish. “The intention of a Catholic education is to form a student not just for test scores but to be a good human being, and I think this school has done that.”
“The community is small, but it’s got the heart and soul of a huge church,” said Donald Fournier, president of Saint Dominic Academy, who previously served for 12 years at the Rumford school. “My time here was fantastic.”
“You really get a sense of family,” said Michelle Ladd, the lead teacher. “You really feel a sense of community with parish members.”
“I’ve been here my whole school life, and it’s just really sad to see it go,” said Joel, a sixth grader. “It helped me be better with my life.”
In addition to the Mass of Thanksgiving, which was concelebrated by Father March, the bishop visited the school, stopping by a classroom and then sitting down with students for lunch.
The history of Holy Savior School dates back to 1912 when St. John School, the first Catholic school in the area, was built, with the Sisters of St. Chretienne coming to teach there. St. Athanasius School was later added, but it would merge with St. John in 1970. St. Athanasius & St John School was then renamed Holy Savior when the area’s parishes merged to form Holy Savior Parish in 2008.