By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
There are heavy hearts for many parents and students at Holy Family School this week.
Shannon Jones, president of the parent teacher organization and mother of a fourth-grade student, said the school closing is like losing one of her own.
“It is something that has been part of my family. My dad went there, my brothers and sisters, aunt and cousins all went there. It’s like losing a part of the family,” said Jones, a 1986 graduate of Holy Family.
Jones has already enrolled her son in St. Stephen Martyr School for next school year.
“He’s going with the flow because he knows that most if not all of his friends are going down to St. Stephen’s,” she said in a phone interview on Monday.
Jones, along with other parents at Holy Family School, were notified over the weekend that the school would close at the end of the academic year.
Dana Sanders, who has a third-grader and eighth-grader at the school, said she was saddened by the news but not really surprised.
Sanders, who served on the school board several years ago, said the school had taken measures to cut costs when enrollment continued to decline including eliminating a Spanish teacher and full-time librarian.
“They really tried hard to keep it open but with the enrollment decreasing it was hard,” she said.
Sanders said her daughter was in a classroom with only nine students. While she loved the small class size for her daughter, she said she realized the school would not be able to continue to support itself with so few students.
Sanders said she received a letter at the beginning of the school year that said the school would take it year by year.
“I kind of knew then but I’m an optimistic person,” she said.
She has not decided where her daughter will attend school next year but said it would definitely be another Catholic school. She plans to tour St. Stephen Martyr and other elementary schools in the archdiocese.
“It felt like a family here. I need for it to feel that way again,” Sanders said.
Jones said she and her husband, Mike (who is athletic director at Holy Family) hope to make the transition for the kids as easy as possible.
“We have to focus on the kids now to help with the transition to St. Stephen or to any other Catholic school,” she said. “We will give them one heck of a send-off at the end of the year. We’ve had 90 years of excellence. That’s exactly what it was.”