Final commencement at Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School

Most likely to recede: Last class leaves Bishop Ford

Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The final bells are tolling for a Catholic high school in Windsor Terrace.

Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School held its final commencement ceremony on Saturday, marking the end of 52 years of Catholic education in the neighborhood after the school closed due to financial problems. The festivities were bittersweet, seniors said.

“I’m feeling pretty good, but it’s sort of sad, too,” said Joshua Wilson, who earned his diploma this weekend. “A lot of my teachers are left jobless at this point.”

Another senior was also worried about the adults who taught her. She took their newfound unemployment harder.

“I’m heartbroken,” said Cithera Hinds. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the teachers — and they’re like my family.”

Hinds starts at Long Island University next year and wants to study nursing. She said her teachers helped her realize her next steps.

“They really helped me find myself and figure out what I wanted to do,” she said.

The Brooklyn Diocese opened the doors to Bishop Ford as an all-boys school in 1962. It is named for Francis X. Ford, a Bishop who was killed in China 10 years before the school opened. The diocese ran the institution until 1976, when it ceded control to a board of directors that turned it coed.

Recent years had seen the school struggle to keep enrollment levels up, shrinking from 1,347 students in 2006 to 499 in 2014. In April, the school’s principal Thomas Arria informed students that because of a massive debt load and an even smaller enrollment total for the coming school year, Bishop Ford was going to close.

The announcement sent shock waves through the Bishop Ford community and brought alumni, students, and parents together to try to save their beloved school. The group rallied, pleaded with the diocese for help, and tried to work with the school’s board of directors to devise a plan to save the school, but nothing stuck.

The borough’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said the church did not have the money to bail out the school, which it had already lent more than $1 million, and fund-raising efforts by alumni only garnered $41,000 of a hoped-for $2 million.

Some parents say church and school leaders could have done more.

“We’re very disappointed. It was such a legacy,” said Francis Wilson, Joshua’s father. “It’s a shame. More effort could have been made by the diocese and the board of directors.”

Newly graduated students are happy to have a diploma and they say that, despite the doors closing on their alma mater, it will not soon be forgotten.

“The Ford Falcons will never die,” said Hinds. “We’ll always be around.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Posted 12:00 am, June 11, 2014
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reader feedback

BlindinglightofGod from Heaven says:
The Alumni wouldn't give a cent to this school that protected pedophiles and rapists while the administrators robbed the donations for decades.

Maybe now with a District Attorney who has not been bought of by the school, justice will come. Maybe now the child rapist who remained on the school payroll for decades will see the inside of a prison cell and given the full Jerry Sandusky treatment.

It is shocking that $41,000 was even raised, just goes to show how the sexual abuse of students, embezzlement and fraud was whitewashed and kept secret. Had those people known what they were really trying to rescue, I doubt that a single penny would have been raised.

Park Slope had its own Jerry Sandusky, now with the Diocese looking into these allegations, this pedophile and those who protected him will enjoy their time in the spotlight and prison cells.
June 16, 2014, 4:15 pm
JD from Bay Ridge says:
Nothing but fond memories for this Alum. Class of 1976! What a shame . A true landmark for those of us who look back on all the fond memories.

Many people worked very hard to give students a real education at ford. I am however saddened to see such memories tarnished by the acts of a few individuals.
July 24, 2014, 2:24 pm
BlindinglightofGod from Above says:
"Many people worked very hard to give students a real education at ford. I am however saddened to see such memories tarnished by the acts of a few individuals"??? JUST A FEW INDIVIDUALS?

If Hynes and his Prosecutors not been given those "Extremely expensive dinners" by Nash and the Board of Trustees for decades, they would have all been in prison. It was not just a "few individuals" this was a waiting RICO indictment for the whole administration and everyone being given a paycheck from it.

The kickbacks paid by vendors were a cottage industry that allowed the students to be milked for their pocket change on everything. Even the Catholic Schools Audit of the school's books alluded to the ripoff of student from the contracted food services and massive accounting 'irregularities' where the school followed zero "accepted accounting practices".

Nash and his cronies made millions looting the school finances, perverts molested hundreds of underage boys and raped hundreds of underage girls for decades. This was no "school" but a mob run whore house were the students were abused and raped in every sense of the word.

All of this was allowed to continue for decades under the protection of Charles Hynes who it is now just beginning to come out all of the crimes he committed as District Attorney for over 20 years and now faces a long prison sentence himself.

This wasn't a "few bad apples," this place was a rotting, festering, vermin ridden orchard for decades who kept a known pedophile on the payroll until its closing despite him having been caught in the act by a Franciscan Brother in 1989.

The Diocese slammed the door on this place when it realized the liabilities it was keeping on its books just from the tax fraud, let alone the hundreds of student victims it is terrified of coming forward and suing.

Any administrator or faculty member coming out of this place must always feel the taint of what they allowed to occur repeatedly. None of it was a secret kept from them. They all witnessed the sexual abuse of financial crimes, yet they kept silent and many profited from them.

Always remember that those adults knew and continued to allow their peers to victimize children even if they themselves didn't do it themselves. Keep that in mind when you see them on the street.
Aug. 22, 2014, 9:19 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

MetroPlus Roosevelt Savings Bank Coney Island Hospital Brookdale VillageCareMax
Schneps Community News Group

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: