DOWNEY - Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, the all-girls St. Matthias High School will become a co-ed campus.It will also have a new name: St. Pius X - St. Matthias Academy. The 19-acre school was previously home to the co-ed Pius X High School from 1953-95 before it became St. Matthias, a Catholic school exclusively for girls. Monsignor Sal Pilato, superintendent of high schools for the Archdiocese, said the change will help to ensure that students have access to Catholic education at all grade levels. "In the city of Downey and the surrounding communities, the school communities of Pius X High School and the current St. Matthias High School have been an important part of serving this mission and have served it well," he said. "Communities and their needs change over time, and schools must respond to those needs in order to remain responsive." The change comes more than a year after Loyola Marymount University's Center for Catholic Education was asked by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the St. Matthias High School board to conduct a study on the school and make recommendations for its future. The study solicited participation from parents, staff, students, board members, alumni and neighboring parish churches. "We are pleased that so many members of the community were part of the planning process that resulted in a new school and a vibrant future for a campus that launched many Catholic lives over the past 60 years," Pilato said. In a statement, Archbishop Jose Gomez said "education remains essential to our Church's mission. Catholic schools have given generations of students excellent opportunities through education, and a chance to become leaders in our civic and cultural life." The transition to St. Pius X - St. Matthias Academy is being led by a volunteer committee chaired by John H. Smet. Other committee members include principal Erick Rubalcava, vice principal Veronica Zozoya and director of marketing and outreach Keani Romero. All three have been administrators at St. Matthias for three or more years. "It's really a privilege to work with the Archdiocese, the school's board, administration and faculty to create a new school and a new future from a long tradition of education and service," Rubalcava said. "Together, we remain deeply committed to bringing the gospel message of hope to youth in this community through faith and a quality Catholic education." The school will begin taking applications from both boys and girls next month, and will welcome boys and girls to the ninth grade class beginning in fall 2013.
********** Published: August 23, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 19