Parents speak out about Benedictine plan to move to Goochland

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - No holding back as Richmond's Benedictine High School parents share how they really feel about the school's possible sale and move to Goochland.

Some parents tell me it's the school's tradition that will suffer. But the headmaster said the move makes sense both financially and academically.

Right now, students travel 30 minutes to Goochland for sports practice. Meaning less time in the classroom. Judy Gaughran didn't mince words.

"I think it's crap, sorry but I do I think it's crap," said Gaughran at Monday night's meeting at Benedictine Abbey in Goochland.

The angry Benedictine mom dislikes how the proposal was handled and believes the tradition of the 100 year old Richmond military school will be lost in the move to the country.

"People who have had generations five generations of kids going here, it's all about where it is," said Gaughran.

Jennifer Capocelli is taking it hard.

"To me I think people send kids to Benedictine for a reason and a big part of that is tradition and there's no tradition out here. I'm trying to have an open mind," said Capocelli.

Headmaster, Jesse Grapes, said the school has $2.7 million in debt and financially it would be better to maintain one campus instead of two. He added students will benefit academically at the 50 acre Goochland campus.

"Our folks are out here quite a bit so it makes sense for us," said Grapes.

Grapes said the two acre Benedictine property gives the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts space for offices, storage and exhibit preparation.

"They appreciate the historic value of the school, it's beauty and planning on maintaining it," said Grapes.

A majority of Benedictine families live closer to The Abbey.

"It's my son's first year and it's actually closer to where we live so we like the idea,"
 said Benedictine parent, Jay Smith.

Right now, only part of The Abbey property is zoned for school, so Benedictine needs zoning approval from the Goochland board of supervisors. Tonight, Benedictine will meet with school alumni.

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