Mother of Mercy, McAuley high schools counting down to merger next summer

Posted at 4:30 AM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 07:07:53-04

CINCINNATI -- A year from now, Mother of Mercy High School’s halls in Westwood will be empty, but the Mercy education will live on as it merges with McAuley High School in College Hill.

The Sisters of Mercy announced in March that the two all-girls Catholic schools would combine to form Mercy McAuley High School, citing declining enrollment.

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The two schools will officially cease to exist on June 30, 2018, according to Tom Otten, chair of the transition committee.

“The size of the facility of these institutions dictated that we weren’t going to be able to fill up these buildings,” Otten said. “Looking out onto the future, it didn’t appear like there was going to be a baby boom — there was no wave coming of new students. (The merger) seemed like the most viable way to go about continuing Mercy education in Cincinnati.”

Stained glass window at McAuley High School

More than 500 teachers, students and alumnae have volunteered to help with the transition, but not all of them were happy about the news at first.

“I’ve been in here for three years, but before that my mom and sister went here,” said 16-year-old Mother of Mercy student Catherine Hoferer. “I was upset at first, but after I looked at the bright side of things, it’s a great opportunity.”

Hoferer, who will be a senior when the school opens in 2018, is on the student-life committee helping plan the transition and make the new school homey. No decisions have been made on the school mascot or colors, but she said the transition board is including students from both schools to make sure all opinions are represented.

“When you go to school, you don’t really have a say in the colors or anything, but now I do — so I get to make my own school from the start,” Hoferer said.

Otten hopes at least 650 students will walk up the current McAuley High School steps into the new school a year from now. The final enrollment figures will determine the number of faculty members they need.

Another consideration is the travel time: The current schools are 7 miles away from one another, so the board is finding a way to accommodate families from Mother of Mercy.