21 May 2009

Letter from Gateway Academy Confirms High School Closure

From: ----@gatewayacademy.org

May 20, 2009

Dear Gateway Parents:

I would have hoped to tell you this at tonight's meeting, but as many of you already know, we have come to the difficult decision to close Gateway Academy High School. And I also want to stress that this decision does not impact our Pre-K through 8 program, which will open as usual in the fall.

I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for being a part of the Gateway Academy community, for all you are doing and what you have done, to build this school. Gateway is far more than an academic institution. It is a gift from God that gives all of us the opportunity to know and love him more and to sanctify our lives.

Gateway was started by some of our outstanding parents with the goal of making Catholic education affordable for all. The school has been extremely successful in many ways, blessed by so many wonderful, generous families-parents, students, staff, faculty, and benefactors.

As you know, each year we have operated at a deficit. Our benefactors have generously assisted Gateway Academy by covering the deficit. But in the current economic environment, it is a lot to expect the same generous level of support from our benefactors. It became clear earlier this year that we needed to seek out a way to continue to fulfill our mission and to do so in a financially responsible and sustainable manner.

We have had to look at many possibilities. We have invited other sources to provide reviews of our school, both internally and externally, including the recent accreditation visit. We retained Catholic Schools Management to concretely identify ways and means to advance our school.

As recently as this past March we intended on fully financially supporting the school. The School Board and administration have worked hard to improve the situation, but the financial recession has intensified the problem. In particular, past subsidies from the Legion are simply not going to be available in the foreseeable future.

Hence, we have had make some very difficult decisions to make in order to achieve financial stability. The existing financial state of Gateway Academy, the current economic conditions, and the extensive competition of the High school market here in the St. Louis area have all contributed to the conclusion that we can no longer operate in the same manner.

After much study, deliberation and prayer the Board of Directors arrived at the very difficult decision that we will have to close Gateway Academy High school. We are deeply saddened by this and for our school community. But we believe it is the responsible thing for us to do at this point.

From a practical standpoint, high school third-quarter transcripts will be available by Friday, May 22. And final transcripts should be available around June 3. Pre-paid tuition and fees for high school students will be refunded.

I know that this decision is especially hard on the students who would be incoming seniors in the fall. Therefore, we want to work with the families of those students and if there are at least 10 who are interested, we will offer a senior program to them so they can graduate from Gateway as anticipated.

If you have questions, please contact my office and we will do all we can to assist you. And please keep everyone in the Gateway family in your prayers.

In Christ,


Anonymous said...

Instead of closing Catholic schools, why don't Dioceses bring in teaching Sisters like the FSGM's, or others like them?

Good holy Sisters who wear habits, who will teach Catholic truths to our children. Faithful Sisters who lead our children to Christ and His Church.

I've always heard you can get two or three Sisters for the price of one lay teacher..

Bring the sisters back! Don't close schools.

Ora et labora said...

And where are they going to find these sisters? They can't just make them magically appear. If there were young, vibrant teaching sisters, they'd be in the schools already. Religious orders of women are not getting vocations.

Anonymous said...

Gateway isn't supported by the diocese, I believe. It's a private school. But I feel so bad for those students who will have to find a new school for senior year!

thetimman said...


Women's orders (those that are orthodox in belief, to be specific) are attracting lots of new vocations, and are flourishing. The problem of course is that due to the hard frost of 40 years of leftist/marxist nonsense, the flourishing orders cannot yet fill the very wide gap. The FSMGs, the Nashville Dominicans, the traditional Benedictines, the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Sovereign Priest, the Missionaries of Charity, the DCJs and many others are growing rapidly.

If we are spared, they will eventually fill the need. But they can't possibly do so in the short term in every place there is a need.

TGL said...

"Leftist-marxist nonsense?" Wow, the over the top rhetoric is flying today!

Anonymous said...

Pefect answer thetimman! I couldn't agree more.

Vocations are on the rise!

We see this all over with these so called "orthodox" communities.

So to my first comment- instead of closing schools, why don't bishops invite these Sisters to fill the gap?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous:

Re your line: "I've always heard you can get two or three Sisters for the price of one lay teacher".... I don't think this is an accurate view of the importance of religious Sisters for keeping a school open. It's not about finances. It's about witness. The Sisters also have to thrive outside of the classroom, and many of them have elderly Sisters and young Sisters in formation to care for.

One of those Sisters

Anonymous said...

Interesting that this popped up today. A former teacher at Gateway was hired by the Belleville Cathedral school. There were questions about his honesty regarding his qualifications and credentials. He's resigning as of June.

Robert said...

Most of these "orthodox" nuns are joining cloistered communities, which is great, but teaching isn't one of their ministries.

Ora et labora said...

I have to concur with TGL. Seems only one side is allowed to call names on this blog.

pfinley said...

Many of the cahtolic high schools dont want the orthodox nuns because the Lay people who run them dont want orthodox teaching. They would rather advance the agenda of "social catholicism"

nuns made catholic schools work, fiscally, but more importantly, they kept them Catholic, so yes, there have been forty years of leftist nonsense. Check out the Notre Dame situation if you dont believe me

I just wonder if the Legion's problems were more the cause? People panic when they hear child abuse and catholic church in the same sentence.

The Teacher said...

I do not believe that the Timman was name calling at all.

Why would it be calling names to point out that a group of people who HONOR trough their words, deeds and actions–leftist, Marxist behavior, are followers of this doctrine?

Unless these people were not educated enough in the knowledge of history to even know to whom they were modeling their beliefs and behavior?

Athelstane said...

Perhaps "Leftist-marxist nonsense" is not entirely accurate.

I would content myself with "modernist" instead.

Ora et labora said...

pfinley said: "People panic when they hear child abuse and catholic church in the same sentence." You make it sound like this is an irrational response on the part of the public. Let's not forget that most of the offending priests presented a facad of conservatism and orthodoxy. As a parent, I'm far more suspect of the radical traditionalists than the progressives. The vehement self-righteousness of many on the far right only tells me that they've got other demons they'd rather keep in the closet.

thetimman said...

Ora, interesting use of the word "demons" in your comment, as well as the "vehement" tag.

I guess only one side gets to call names on this blog, eh?

Ora et labora said...

Theti, It's what you're not arguing about (or even responding to) that makes me smile.

thetimman said...

Note, I had to edit the following comment slightly--

Former Student said:

Re to Peggy and pfinley:

My gosh of course teachers at Gateway Academy has no real credentials! They hire all these terrible teachers that cannot properly teach their students, and when they have a conflict with the child, they emotionally and verbally abuse/persecute the poor child. That school is full of heretics, hypocrits, and jokes. I attended school there during the first eight years it was open, and they had hired a man for an administrative position but failed to see if he was qualified or to run a proper background check.

I have plenty of stories that could show the frailty and vunerability of that school. Not only that, but the Legionares of Christ is an evil, evil operation that is not following with the Catholic Church. It disturbed me, even as a child, at how much they basically 'worshipped' this priest "Father Marcial". They even had a special day (which could be likened to a holy day) for this "founder" of the Legionares. It makes my stomach churn when I remember all the things that they did to my family and I, persecuting us and driving us out because my parents refused to join some association that basically made them give more money to the school. Oh, and may I point out that their problems with the high school started at least six years ago. When I was in seventh grade, they had a meeting for the parents where they basically begged all the parents to stay at Gateway Academy and not send their children to other high schools. The school is a cult. It's depressing that such a thing has to happen. There are so many psychological scars that my brother and I have from being treated so terribly at that school. We still struggle with them even today.

Now I am not looking for pity, not looking for anger, or whatever. I just had to comment and give my soapbox speech because it will be a cold day in hell before I can say something positive about that joke of a Catholic institution. All my life I have gone to Catholic schooling, and at my last two schools never have I gone through the same damaging experience as I had during my time at Gateway Academy.

x said...

"Let's not forget that most of the offending priests presented a facad of conservatism and orthodoxy."
This is simply not a true statement. The Weaklands, the Laws, the Bernadines the Mahoneys were all, virtually without exception, self professed liberal/progressive/modernists catholics. It seems logistically logical that there may have been some who fit your description but I can't think of one.

thetimman said...

To former student,

I understand exactly what you intend. That isn't why I edited it. I am trying to avoid printing an accusation that cannot be reasonably verified-- for legal reasons, and for moral reasons.

If you instead could say, "published report said" and give a link, or something to back it up, then I wouldn't have the same concerns.

Former Student said...

To theti:

Lol ok, I understand now. Sorry!

To x:

Who are you responding to?

cmziall said...

x was responding to Ora's comment at 8:36pm on May 22.

Former student - I'm sorry to hear of your pain and suffering from, what some of us thought of, one of the better Catholic schools in the area if you could afford it and wanted to send your kids to school. Good luck to you in your endeavors.

This is just an example of what our world is like. . .no matter where you attend school, there will always be problems/issues. It is the same way in the workforce.

Latinmassgirl said...

Former Student,

I personally know four people who used to teach at Gateway and they are wonderful, holy Catholics! There is nothing wrong with honoring the founder of an order, and your sour grapes show that you aren't familiar with Catholic orders.

I bet you wouldn't complain if you were in a public school practically worshipping "Saint" Martin Luther King, or the new Messiah - Obama.

I'm sorry that Gateway didn't work for you, but I know many Catholic families who are quite pleased with the education there, and their children are proof of its excellency!

Maybe the problem is in "The Former Student" and not the school. Look deep at your faults and don't blame others for perhaps trying to discipline a spoiled child.

thetimman said...

LMG, this particular founder had some serious issues that caused the Pope to discipline him.

Anonymous said...

LMG, that's a bit condescending, don't you think, taking in consideration the suspect Legion in general and it's Founder in particular? Re-read what cmziall wrote because it really sums it all up - these things are rife, whether in Church, education, and industry. Where there are people, there is potential for evil as well as good. Have you (or your kids) walked in FS shoes?

Latinmassgirl said...


When the Former Student professed to be forced to have to honor the founder, there was no knowledge of any wrongdoing on his account, so it was acceptable and customary.

Nowadays teachers complain that the students can do no wrong in the eyes of their parents. They automatically blame the teachers and school for the discipline issues of their children.

That is why I am very suspect of FS's claim of "abuse" and that Gateway is such a horrible school and a cult. This is a school that many good Catholic families go to and are very happy with the education and the teachers.

Anonymous said...


I am sorry to tell you that there are also many who were not and are not happy with Gateway.

No school is perfect, but just because 'many good Catholic families' like Gateway Academy does not mean that abuses cannot occur.

Having had my kids there and having had them at other places, I can say for sure that I would not automatically be suspect of someone claiming abuse. In fact, it would automatically give me great pause in almost all cases.

It may or may not be that big of an issue for you personally. I am not sure if you have a connection to the school. But if you do, it might serve you to ask around a little bit more.

God Bless, Anon in STL

Anonymous said...


You wrote; 'I bet you wouldn't complain if you were in a public school practically worshipping "Saint" Martin Luther King, or the new Messiah - Obama.' THAT is a little condescending and presumptuous.

And it is besides the point that 'many good Catholic families go to ...' that school. Indeed, there may (or may not) be many good families and teachers, just as there might (or might not) be at any educational institution. However, when the Vatican orders an apostolic visitation of Legionaries of Christ institutions because of improprieties by the order's founder, it might be a logical assumption then to expect a measure of scrutiny and suspect, now become relevant, by virtue of that action.

And though FS's posits grave arguments, haughty responses are uncharitable and serve no one.


Latinmassgirl said...


Since the beginning of Catholic schools, there have been students "traumatized" by strict teachers. It used to be nuns who inflicted such emotional pain and even ruler swats! (violins)

I am surprised that I was the only one offended by the horrible things the FS said about Gateway!
to quote him:
"these terrible teachers that cannot properly teach their students, and when they have a conflict with the child, they emotionally and verbally abuse/persecute the poor child. That school is full of heretics, hypocrits, and jokes."

I have been on a few retreats there, and other events, as I had a friend whose children attended both the school and high school, since its beginning. The priests were always very kind and holy in words and deeds at these events.

I think that any disgruntled FS who writes on the internet, hateful, disparaging remarks about a school that has had a good, solid Catholic reputation, should not be given a free pass.

I also think that accused improprieties by the founder do not make the order illicit, and certainly not the school, which is mostly made up of lay teachers anyway.

The rant by FS to me was very uncharitable, killing the schools reputation, which should be at least questioned.

Must we all be just sheep?

Anon in KS said...

Wait a minute, why can't some people have bad experience with something while the others have good experience with it? I happen to like physics very much, for example, while others have horrible time with it. They may find the teacher or the subject itself terrible, but hey, those are THEIR experiences. Don't blame them for having bad experiences. Unless you know these students with bad experiences personally, I don't think it's charitable to blame them.

Anonymous said...

Anon in KS, I couldn't have said it better.


Anonymous said...

To LMG....
Having personally known one of the recent priests who is now a convicted/admitted pedophile, I can say from a personal standpoint that all things are not always what they seem. You went on a few retreats and thought they were all nice....if you had any experience with any of this you would understand that abusers can be very nice to people's faces (especially adults) but can be completely different to children in the classroom. I wonder if these had been your own children if you would have given more credence to their feelings/experiences? Name calling (Maybe the problem is in "The Former Student" and not the school. Look deep at your faults and don't blame others for perhaps trying to discipline a spoiled child.) is seldom productive and I would hope you wouldn't want anyone doing that to your children.


Titans forever said...

to the timman:

I too, am a former student, affected by the closing of the school, being forced to choose another, and i can do no more than completely disagree with you. how can you, being a gateway titan accuse the school of being abusive??? the teachers there are some of the nicest and best teachers i have had so far in my educational career. sometimes sure, we hated it, but only because it was school. but afterwards we can all realize that that school gave us so much, nd the only thing we have left to do is to give back in return...

Anonymous said...

I went to Gateway Academy.
I still remember it like it was yesterday.
I am sixteen now, and it has been years since i went to that red-Bricked building.
I am only now researching what happened there in the past, so many years ago.
I wonder how much older and wiser I am now, to that little fifth grader who argued so much.
I remember there was a priest, Father Tomas. He didn't tell boring homilies like the other priest. He told us stories. Amazing stories.
I remember one story he told us about friendship that i have remembered by entire life.
It was a story of two friends, a writer and an explorer. They were good friends, but each was jealous of the other one. The explorer wanted to be famous, like the author, and the author wanted to be courageous, like the explorer.
Well, one day the fought and quarreled, and the two friends went separate ways.
The explorer went to Antarctica on a bold expedition, but he got lost, and his men soon began to die in their tents from lack of food and exposure.
The explorer was sitting his tent, and he was going to die, but as he took his last days, he wrote a letter.
In this letter he talked of life and suffering, of his friendship with the writer, and the explorer wrote.

"I never met a man in my life whom I admired and loved more than you, but I never could show you how much your friendship meant to me, for you had much to give and I nothing."

The explorer froze to death, and after much time had passed, the letter he had written made it's way back to the writer. Now, the writer was not a sentimental man, having lived through World Wars, and success had made him jaded. He revived the letter, and when he revived it, and wept.
He carried that letter with him for the rest of his life.
The explorer was Captain Robert Falcon Scott. The Writer was J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan.

This story held great meaning for me, and still does to this day. But this story is the reason i an working to publish my first book as an author, and i would not have that if it were not for Father Tomas, and Gateway.
Say what you will, it is our actions that define us each, some good, some bad.
Sincerely, Reagan Font.