As first reported by PackerParkLiving.com, St. Gabriel is one of at least six Catholic elementary schools in the city – others are St. George, in Port Richmond; St. Laurentius, in Fishtown; St. Matthew, in Mayfair; St. Richard, in South Philadelphia, and St. Cecilia, in Fox Chase – that successfully appealed and will remain open or be kept from merging.
In addition to the jubulent news, the site of a new regional school, Stella Maris, has been nixed. Instead, Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel will merge with Epiphany of Our Lord, 12th and Jackson, to become a regional school. St. Richard, 18th and Pollock, will remain open and become a regional school with Holy Spirit School. The original plan was to have Sacred Heart, Mount Carmel, Epiphany, Holy Spirit and St. Richard to close and begin a regional school at the former Stella Maris site, on Bigler near 8th.
The schools and neighbors began appealing after the announcement of closures . Each school sent top officials to present appeals to representatives from the Office of Catholic Education, the Archdiocese School Board and the Blue Ribbon Commission.