Citing financial hardship, officials at The Cambridge Matignon School announced Tuesday it will close in June, ending 75 years of academic and athletic prominence for the proud Catholic high school.
The co-ed school, which has a rich history in ice hockey, winning eight state championships and spawning several professional NHL players, revealed the news in a letter to the school community.
“We have been able to enjoy 75 years of incredible achievements during our illustrious history,” wrote Marc-Anthony Hourihan, president of the school’s board of trustees. “Our school has developed a reputation for academic excellence, athletic dominance, world-class teaching and an outstanding alumni network that has gone on to tremendous heights in their professional careers.”
“The school has continued to offer an international student program, a pipeline to elite colleges and universities, and standout faculty,” Hourihan wrote. But “we unfortunately are not immune from the financial challenges that go with continuing this expectation of greatness.”
News of the school’s impending closure follows similar recent announcements from Catholic high schools in Brighton, Newton, and Fall River in March, due largely to weak finances and enrollment declines.
Matignon officials have “exhausted all options” to keep the school running but haven’t been able to secure the necessary funds, Hourihan wrote.
“That, combined with the challenge of ongoing demographic shifts among middle and high-school-aged children, has resulted in insurmountable financial pressures that forced us to make this decision,” Hourihan wrote.
Enrollment at Matignon has declined from 400 students in the 2016-2017 school year, to 300 this school year, with a further drop expected next year, according to the Archdiocese of Boston.
Zaina Qureshi, the senior class president, said students learned of the closing in an e-mail. “I really truly believe that nobody . . . who was in the actual Matignon building on a day to day basis had any inkling that this would even happen,” said Qureshi, 18, of Malden.
The last day of school for students is slated for June 8, according to a school calendar.
“It is always difficult to make a school closing announcement,” Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, said in an e-mail. “But the team at Matignon has done a fine job focused on working to insure a smooth and seamless transition for students, families, faculty, and staff. This includes honoring the substantial history that is Matignon and its decades of excellence.”
The archdiocese owns the building and land on which the school is located. No decision on its future has been made, Donilon said.
The number of Catholic high schools in the archdiocese has dropped from 31 in 2017, to 28 this school year, according to Donilon. That number will decline by three, with the closing of Matignon, St. Joseph Prep Boston, and Mount Alvernia High School in Newton, this school year. (Bishop Connolly High School is part of the Diocese of Fall River.)
The Matignon announcement, which was lamented by the school’s close-knit alumni, comes as the school was set to celebrate its 75th anniversary at its annual fund-raiser. Tuition this year was $17,250.
The school’s ninth annual Traditions of Excellence Gala, slated for Monday at the Boston Marriott Cambridge, has been canceled, a school spokesman said.
The family of former House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, who have several alumni among them, were going to be presented with the Cardinal Cushing Community Service Award at the gala.
For decades beginning in the 1970s, the school’s storied boys’ hockey program was one of the state’s true powerhouses under legendary coach Marty Pierce, catapulting the likes of Shawn McEachern, Steve Leach, Tom O’Regan, and Niko Dimitrakos into the NHL
The Matignon Warriors were “one of the most revered hockey teams in the state” and won eight state championships with the first in 1975 and the last in 1993, according to the school newspaper, the Cambridge Matignon Mirror.
Paul Halloran, a member of the Class of 1981 and a former baseball coach at the school, recalled Matignon’s undying school spirit.
“It was a place … where real school spirit was a real, tangible thing,” said Halloran, 59, of Lynn, a former newspaper reporter and editor who now works in public relations. “It was palpable.”
Susan Swirbalus, a member of the class of 1976, said her years at Matignon was “the happiest time of my life,” she said.
“My love for the school, it just runs so deep,” said Swirbalus, 65, of Quincy. “When we were back at school, you didn’t even want to miss school [or] stay home sick. It was just a wonderful, wonderful atmosphere.”
The decision to close was not easy and “our school leadership group is committed to supporting our community members through this trying time,” Hourihan wrote.
“We will always honor the celebrated history of this great institution and we will work to ensure the transition process is treated with the most respect and support possible for everyone affected by this decision,” Hourihan wrote.
On Monday, the school tweeted photos from a student production of the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
“Great performances this past weekend from our students in the Matignon Drama Company’s production of, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!” the school posted on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone in the Matignon community who came out to see the shows!”
Great performances this past weekend from our students in the Matignon Drama Company's production of, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!— The Cambridge Matignon School (@MatignonHS) May 1, 2023
Thank you to everyone in the Matignon community who came out to see the shows!#CambridgeMatignon pic.twitter.com/4jP4LCB7ge
Travis Andersen and Kathy McCabe of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.
Did you or someone you know go to The Cambridge Matignon School? If so, we want to hear from you.