St. Mary's Church in Boyle Heights during July 2021 repair project. Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas

When the current school year ends, a piece of Boyle Heights history is destined to be lost forever.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese said this week that St. Mary’s in Boyle Heights is one of two area Catholic schools that will be forced to close down due to a drastic drop in enrollment.

The elementary school opened in St. Mary’s parish in Boyle Heights shortly after the church –one of the oldest in Los Angeles– opened in 1897. 

St. Mary’s Church opened in 1897 and its school ten years later Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas

In a story Tuesday, ABC7 said that St. Mary’s pastor announced the school’s closure last week, citing unbearable challenges brought on by the pandemic. According to the outlet: 

  • Enrollment at the school has decreased by 38% in the past 5 years.
  • Factors for the school’s closure include the competition presented by 32 area public and charter schools and 4 other nearby Catholic elementary schools.
  • St. Mary’s will consolidate with the nearby elementary school at Santa Isabel Church, which means that students from transitional kindergarten through the 8th grade will have the option of going there.

Some parishioners said the were saddened by the impending closure of the school next to the large Byzantine-style church on Chicago Street and Fourth.

“We have been here for so many years, so now I’m bringing my grandchildren here, so it does affect us deeply.”

Julie Luevano speaking to ABC7

Opened in 1907, St Mary’s school is the third oldest parish school in Los Angeles.

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Antonio Mejías-Rentas

Antonio Mejías-Rentas is a Senior Editor at Boyle Heights Beat, where he mentors teenage journalists, manages the organization’s website and covers local issues. A veteran bilingual journalist, he's...

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