Friends of Hallahan lose court ruling in bid to reopen school

A movement to reopen the country’s first all-girls diocesan Catholic high school has lost one ruling in court.

The Friends of Hallahan learned Tuesday the court vacated the preliminary injunction against the Archdiocese, saying the group had no case against the church.

Hallahan Girls High School closed its doors at the end of the school year, citing lack of enrollment.

In a statement after the court’s ruling, the Chief Communications Officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said, in part:

The decision to close John W. Hallahan High School at the end of the current school year came after much detailed study and prayerful consideration. Continued operations would have accelerated tuition increases to unaffordable levels and jeopardized our ability to provide the diverse academic and extracurricular offerings our families deserve. Every potential alternative to closure was considered, but none were viable.

Today, after a hearing, the Judge vacated the preliminary injunction order sought by Friends of Hallahan and agreed with the Archdiocese and Attorney General that Friends of Hallahan lacks standing to be heard in this matter. We are grateful for the consideration by the court and the decision rendered.

The original donation made by Mary McMichan in the early 1900’s to establish an all-girls Catholic high school was fully expended on the construction of the original school building in accordance with her donor intended purpose.

Friends of Hallahan want to reopen the school under private leadership.

Lauren Trimbur of Roxborough remembers her days at Hallahan as some of the best.

"When they say it's a sisterhood, it really is a sisterhood," she said.

She says she’s heartbroken that the school graduated its last class this month. The oldest of her three daughters, Charlie, would have been a junior in the fall.

Trimbur adds she fully supports an effort by fellow alumni and supporters to open a new independent all-girls school in Center City that could bear the name Hallahan.

"This would be a great opportunity for them. It's the diversity. It's the experience, the tradition, legacy all those things combined I would really like them to experience," Trimbur remarked.

Nan Gallagher, a former president of Hallahan, is leading the charge. She says she would like to name the school after Hallahan's foundress, Mary Hallahan McMichan.

"It is the name we would like in honor of her and to continue her legacy. She was a true visionary," Gallagher said.

Trimbur says she is just hopeful her daughters are able to get the same opportunities that Hallahan provided to her.

"The name is important, but the school and them being together is most important," she said.



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