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Byrneden

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Reply with quote  #1 

Can anyone tell me the facts behind Mater Christi's demise?


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RussellDoucetteof73

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Reply with quote  #2 
I think someone said there was a book about it.

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MrsSlocum

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Reply with quote  #3 

I think it was a question of money.  MC was a diocesan high school and the tuition was low and that low tuition couldn't support the school any longer.  So the diocese turned it into St. John's Prep.  (I heard something like this along the MC grape vine years ago.)


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RussellDoucetteof73

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Reply with quote  #4 
I've heard many things.
But nothing conclusive.
Nothing first hand.

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TonyCasamento69

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSlocum
So the diocese turned it into St. John's Prep. ..


Small correction: the Diocese gave up control of Mater Christi in 1977 when it became Mater Christi HS (not DHS).  It was run by a community-based board of trustees until 1981.

No doubt, finances were an issue when the school decided to form an alliance with SJU.

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JimDavis

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Reply with quote  #6 
The Webguy is correct.  The Board of Trustees had a
great amount of soul-searching over the issue.  But
they decided that a reopened St. John's Prep replacing Mater Christi was better than closing the school outright.
 
SAMMY67 

tom70

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Reply with quote  #7 
St Francis Prep took over Bishop Reilly under similar circumstances. 

Christ The King went from DHS to regional High School .

The Franciscans also took over Bishop Ford. 

Most of the original DHS could not function on there own due to rising labor costs directly effected by loss of religious faculty due to attrition and lack of vocations. Aided by defections of Lay  faculty that left for the business world when the military deferment was no longer needed.  

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DirtBag82

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Reply with quote  #8 
I believe I can give a true account since I was a student at the school at the time of the transition from Mater Christi Catholic High School to St Johns Prep. I was at Mater Christi for Freshman Sophmore and Junior Year...and a Senior in the first graduating class of the New St Johns Prep.
.
The school formed an affiliation with St Johns University in October 1980. My Junior Year was spent with the transition plans for July 1981. The year was spent decidint on new uniforms, admissions standards, honors students being offered to got to SJU for senior year..rumors the girls were being kicked out ( because the original Prep was all boys, the auditorium going to be painted Read and White ..the new school colors, etc.) The funniest looking backwas the decision between 3 types of school rings...Mater Christi with a green stone, St. John's Prep with a green stone ( to represent MC) orthe new St Johns Prep ring with a Red Stone ( new school color ).

On July 1, 1981 the school officially became St John's Prep and boasted a high enrolment of Freshman,over 500, thanks to publicity. We spent the year adjusting to certain changes in the school schedule, courses, a new school name, new colors for sports uniforms, the loss of the gator, and most of all the white shirts and ties.

We received St Johns Prep diplomas in a red case, but the inside sketch of the school inside the case still read Mater Christi on the front of the school building. A nice touch for keeping the two schools alive for our special class.

So that is the eyewitness accounting for all of you.

RussellDoucetteof73

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Reply with quote  #9 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSlocum
 So the diocese turned it into St. John's Prep. 

I thought Brooklyn no longer "owned" the school and St John's Prep "bought" it. Or something along those lines.

So much I don't understand about it.

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JimDavis

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Reply with quote  #10 
A friend of mine attended Bishop Rielly when it
became St. Francis Prep.  The change over there was not
quite like that of the Mater Christi/St. John's Prep
situation.
 
At MC/St. John's Prep, St. John's University held the
original charter for their Prep which had closed in
1972 while still in Brooklyn.  Under the MC agreement,
St. John's Prep was reborn with changes in colors,
motto, etc.  but all the MC students remained.
 
At Bishop Rielly, St. Francis Prep, which was still operating in Brooklyn, took over the school, bringing
in their own students, and removing those Bishop
Rielly students who didn't meet the Prep's scholastic
requirements.
 
SAMMY67
 
JimDavis

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Reply with quote  #11 
Rielly?? Reilly??  It's time to get some sleep!!
 
SAMMY67
tom70

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Reply with quote  #12 

When St Francis left Brooklyn it took the students who wanted to go , many did not , some transferred to Ford , Loughlin and Xavier. There were no girls at Prep. Riley had 1300 woman students . The St Francis graduating class the last year in Brooklyn was 210. That means approx. 630 were being transferred from Brooklyn to Queens. I believe the figure I heard was 400+ actually came to queens. Any student from Riley who was enrolled and a member in good standing was absorbed into the new student body which was then considered the largest private school ( enrollment wise) in the country. Nobody was forced to leave. The first graduating class which was a combination of Riley holdovers and St Francis survivors was around 650. The faculty by the way was merged. The lay faculty under the takeover agreement was merged by seniority some of the teachers from the old Prep that had less time then the Riley teachers did not get hired at the new building. The transition problems were unique to the situation and many. Riley all ready had a Varsity basketball and baseball team so did Prep. They had to merged, same with clubs and other activities. Woman's sports were unaffected as Prep previously had no woman.  Since the athletic department was St Francis the Varsity coaches were the St Francis coaches, some of the Riley coaches and moderators remained but this was a very small number. The transition was bumpy until the first enrollment of all Prep students were seniors. There were a lot of hard feelings between the left over Riley kids and the transferred in Prep kids.


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DirtBag82

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Reply with quote  #13 
The way the transition was explained to the Parents and Students at Mater Christi in October 1980 to take effect in July 1981 was that it was an opportunity to increase course offerings by using the University as a resource.  increase enrollment of more honors studens by allowing them the choice to attend their senior year at St. Johns Univeristy and get both High school senior year credits and freshman year credits while attending school on the college campus full-time.  Also, enrollment was dropping and with the new Bopard in charge of the scool in 1977 without the Diocese, they were looking or ways to increase enrollment and, sadly, realizing that the general public's view of a negative reputation of the school name in the 70s continued to be a factor when 8th graders were going to high school open houses and taking the Co-Ops. MC was often regarded as the last choice safety school to get into "safety school" or for those who couldnt get into anything else At the final year of MC the general enrollment classes were about 350 for each grade level in 1980.  For the New St John's Prep incoming class for Sept 1981, it rose to over 500...as seniors  there were freshman everwhere. Mathematically, chances are about 150 wouldn't have even put it down as a choice if it was MC. I remember hearing for the first time in my home neighborhood that some applicants didn't get accepted to St Johns Prep because of the increase in applicants.
So looking back, I guess they were correct.  Also, they gained more fancial support of the Brooklyn's Prep Alumni. If you look in the Alumni New List of DOnors, most are from the Old Prep who never attended in Astoria but still support the new version of the Prep.
DirtBag82

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Reply with quote  #14 
First of all let me say..I LOVED MC and got a great education and made lifelong friends to this day there.
That said, the Rep in the 70s goes back to the early 70s on the boys side  with things ranging from the way the Brothers taught contemporary religion to the lack of uniforms as opposed to other schools at the time..again compared to other catholic schools at the time...nicknamed "Pill Hill". It is well known of the negative image outside of the people who actually were inside this great school.This is one of the reason given why the proposed curriculum changes with MC was not enough...  many of us asked why the name of the school needed to change alongside the involvement of SJU. If you look on this Mater Christi .com website to Periodicals link you will see a Tablet story and Crecentower school papers inwhich the students and school community are open int he student paper of trying to change the perception of MC.
I am not saying that is was correct..but a situation that was effecting the life of the school and a factor on how to move forward to keep this great school alive and attracting competative enrollment. 
tom70

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Reply with quote  #15 

Granny there were supposedly a few incidents in the mid to late 70's and by the time the youngest in my family was H.S. age MC had the rep of being a "drug" school. The post made it sound like there was some vilification with the actual name there wasn't , it was the rep. For the information of DirtBag82, the dress code or lack of , hair style freedom , curriculum choices , co-ed classes etc. were actually concessions won by the student government , presented to the administration and approved. What outsiders might have perceived as a lack of discipline was actually an innovative , well structured  modern and obviously misunderstood ( by outsiders)  use of ideas that were well ahead of it's time. Unfortunately drug use was present in all the area schools but combined with what was thought to be "radical" behavior it was magnified and spotlighted at MC.  


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