Mount Carmel High School in Chicago plans to go co-ed after 122 years as an all-boys school

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mount Carmel High School in the Woodlawn neighborhood is planning to go coeducational, after nearly a century and a quarter as an all-boys school.

Mount Carmel, at 6410 S. Dante Ave., will make a decision in August on whether to begin admitting girls beginning in fall 2023. School leaders have invited the wider school community to speak out on the matter.

The school’s mostly secular board of directors and council of members made up of Carmelite Catholic priests and friars will meet separately to make a final decision Aug. 9-10.

Mount Carmel was founded in 1900 and emphasized its heritage of teaching young men who were sons of “workers, steelworkers, managers and professionals”. Its reputation grew beyond the south and southeast sides of the city, and its student body became racially, ethnically, religiously and economically diverse – but the experience of a Catholic education involving Rigorous academics, discipline, faith and athleticism remain the main draw, the school said. .

“As an iconic Chicago institution, Mount Carmel has since its founding taken bold action to train young people to live with ‘zeal for God, for life, for learning,'” the president said. school, Brendan Conroy, in a press release. “Our graduates are leaders in every field. The Catholic and Carmelite values ​​that have permeated the Mount Carmel experience for many generations deserve a prominent place in Chicago’s educational landscape.”

Mount Carmel continued to attract students and even increased its market share in terms of families seeking an affordable, all-male Catholic secondary education with college-preparatory goals, the school said.

Now, 122 years after the school’s founding, school officials “are confident” it’s time to consider whether the same opportunities should be offered to young women in Mount Carmel, the school said. school.

“Mount Carmel has never rested on its laurels, always striving for excellence, growth and challenging norms. The Carmelites applaud this exploration, as it intends to build on the strengths of an already strong school,” said the father. Carl Markelz, O. Carm., Provincial of the Carmelites and former director and president of the school, said in the press release. “Now is the time for the Mount Carmel community to engage in constructive dialogue about gender diversity.”

The school noted that growth has been “elusive” for single-sex Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and meanwhile, fewer students are coming out of Catholic elementary schools. Mount Carmel said it attracts students from many Catholic schools, both public and private, and leaders noted that coeducational Catholic high schools are the ones seeing growth.

School leaders will listen to stakeholders – students, parents, employees, alumni and donors – before making the decision to go co-ed.

“We look forward to constructive dialogue as a Mount Carmel family. There are so many people who care deeply about the school – students, teachers and staff, alumni, parents, donors and benefactors, and we will take time with each to share and learn,” Conroy said in the statement. “All have a strong stake in ensuring Mount Carmel thrives for the next 120 years.”

Information and listening sessions will be held this summer for this purpose. Students, parents, alumni and donors can visit the school’s website to learn more, share their opinions and ask questions by emailing [email protected]


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