Written by Sydney Stumpf and Rebeca Pereira
Malden Catholic, an all boys, private, Catholic school, has long experienced a demand for the inclusion of female students. After many deliberations the school board voted to create a girls’ division, which is planned to be fully functional by September of 2018.
It is important to note, however, Malden Catholic High School is not becoming co-ed, which would mean both boys and girls share classes on a daily basis, but co-divisional, in which boy and girls attend separate classes from one another. For the most part, also, girls and boys will attend separate masses, though they may come together once or twice a year for a mass inclusive of both divisions.
Activities such as sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities will also be separated by gender. The school board is currently deliberating which sports will be offered to girls in the initial years. Depending on the club, girls may be included in the already standing boys’ clubs as well as separate clubs for inclusively girls.
Girls Catholic, which opened its doors in 1908, operated in close connection with Malden Catholic, formerly known as Boys Catholic. Once Girls Catholic closed in 1992, families seeking same-sex, private, Catholic education for girls found that there were very few available schools in the Malden area. As the demand increased, the idea of possibly introducing female students arose on many occasions.
Plans were approved to turn Malden Catholic into a co-divisional school which, as opposed to co-educational, will provide “a structured single-gender academic environment during the school day” while allowing students of both genders to share some facilities, clubs, and extracurricular opportunities.
The final plan, which was announced by Headmaster Thomas Doherty at the 11th Annual Benefit Gala, introduced former Director of Specialized Learning Lisa Cenca as the principal of the Girls Division. The gala raised more than $400,000 which, according to the Malden Catholic website, “benefit academic and co-curricular programs, financial aid and athletics”, will now include the construction of a separate wing for the Girls Division featuring “top grade classrooms and technology”.
The gala, which was held on April 27th, 2017, recognized the Lifetime Achievement Award and Brother Robert Sullivan, C.F.X. '45 Medal Recipients. In attendance was the Mayor of Malden, Gary Christenson, who commented that he was “thrilled with the opportunity that the Malden community will be able to further build on its strong educational foundation with Malden Catholic’s expansion”.
Malden Catholic has also acquired property near the school’s campus as it plans to expand in the future. While it is still unclear whether or not this new purchase will be used to house Girls Division’s facilities, the school is already going ahead with the plan.
On Wednesday, June 8th, the school held an information night for families of girls who are currently seventh graders, who will comprise the first inaugural class of only 50-75 students. The event was advertised as one where interested families would meet Principal Cenca, see the new school design, and learn the application process. Soon after the event was announced, registration had closed, maintaining that the event had reached its full capacity.
Girls and boys will be admitted to the school based on the same application process which begins online, providing academic transcripts, taking the placement test, and attending personal interviews with Malden Catholic faculty. The school urges interested families to begin inquiring about the application process soon.
To learn more about the new girls’ division at Malden Catholic, go to the Malden Catholic High School website here.