Xavier Prep to remain open; alumni group to purchase school

Published: Apr. 22, 2013 at 3:26 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2013 at 10:20 PM CDT
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New Orleans, La - St. Katherine Drexel's legacy and educational philosophy will continue on Magazine street, but this will be the final class to graduate from Xavier Preparatory High School.  An alumni group plans to continue the tradition even though the name of the school will be different. The group announced Monday night that the new school will be named Saint Katherine Drexel Preparatory School.

Brenda Johnson was heartbroken when she heard that Xavier Prep would close, "I was sick;  My daughter was sick," said Johnson.  Her daughter Ashley is in the ninth grade and grew to love the school as much as her mother.  Johnson said, "It's a really good school and they really nurture the kids.  I didn't want her to go anywhere else."

"We have a plethora of leaders who have emanated from this school.  We plan on not only using those resources, but enhancing the curriculum for our students to continue that legacy," said Judge Karen Wells Roby. Roby is one of six alums who organized to create a non-profit corporation under the name 5116 Magazine Street Preparatory High School.  Roby said, "We're continuing the school legacy.  This is going to be a long term commitment."

The corporation is already in the process of negotiating to keep the current staff and administration.

The group's attorney Fred Herman says all that's left is the paperwork.  He said, "There will be a new school with a new name on that site.  It will be in the tradition of Katherine Drexel.  It will not be named Xavier Prep or Xavier University Preparatory School and the sisters will not have any affiliation with it and that's by their choice.  Herman said the Order of the Blessed Sacrament asked that the new group not use the Xavier Prep name.  The new school will be an independent catholic school under the Arch-Diocese.

Xavier Prep supporters are excited at news of a deal, but they do recognize there are still challenges ahead.  Roby said, "Whatever the obstacle one thing we learned as students under the St. Katherine Drexel philosophy is there is no problem that's too big, that can't be achieved number one with God and number two if you work together."

Johnson said, "I'm happy to hear this and I will do everything I can to support it."  The group hopes all the parents are as excited and to build the student body for the future.  The corporation is already in the process of negotiating to keep the current staff and administration.  Parents, students and alum will attend a meeting on the school campus to learn more Monday April 22 at 6 p.m.