The Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) is a collection of about 30 co-ed and single-sex private and parochial schools in and around Baltimore.
Many of the institutions’ histories have been incredibly colorful over the years. Few have been more colorful than Baltimore Seton Keough (Md.). The history of the school can be traced back to St. Joseph’s School of Industry, which opened in 1865. St. Joseph’s eventually became Seton High School in 1926. That school merged with Archbishop Keough High School, which had started in 1965.
Interscholastic athletics became a focal point of the school even before the merger. The legendary Florence Bell coached the lacrosse team there for years.
But in the last decade, the enrollment of the school had declined precipitously. Though the two schools independently had more than 1100 students each in the 1960s, Seton Keough’s current enrollment is at 186.
This afternoon, it was announced that Seton Keough and two other schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore would be closing, with two more merging, as of the end of the current school year.
It’s not as large as a wave of closings between 2009 and 2010 which closed a number of long-time Roman Catholic schools such as Towson (Md.) Catholic (which opened in 1922) and Baltimore Cardinal Gibbons (Md.), a popular all-boys’ school which opened in 1962 but traces its educational history back to the 1860s when it was the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, and featured a young George Herman Ruth on its baseball team.
I guess, given the fact that both St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s started back in the 1860s, their parallel histories would lead to the location of Cardinal Gibbons and Seton Keough only about a quarter-mile apart on Caton Avenue hard by St. Agnes Hospital in Southwest Baltimore.
And as of June 1, both will be lost forever.
The closings of Seton Keough, and the merger or closings of the other four schools, will affect some 355 students who have not yet graduated. Yet, the mergers and closings are expected to result in the savings of some $32 million that would not have had to have been spent had the five schools been allowed to remain open.
That’s about $90,000 per student. Not exactly my definition of “sustainable.”