When one graduates from high school, one usually leaves with many memories whether they be the good, the bad or the ugly. For some, high school memories are worthwhile to revisit by attending school functions, the theater productions, school masses and more.
After this year, I won’t have that opportunity anymore because the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is closing my old high school. I attended Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic, located in Norristown, Pa. I found out about the closing in my senior year.
I can still remember the day the announcement was made. The administration told us during homeroom period before the Cardinal made the official announcement at a press conference. I immediately did not agree with the decision.
My school along with another archdiocesan school, St. Pius X, is being closed and relocated to a “super school” in Royersford, Pa. Now when I say “super school,” I mean brand new building, gymnasium, theater, pool, smart classrooms, etc. Having all of these things is great, don’t get me wrong, but tuition will sky rocket, as if the cost of Catholic education isn’t pricey enough.
Not only would tuition be high, but also the school will be located in an area that is too far for many students to commute. Kenrick was already a long commute for some students and now that distance is almost doubled. These students now have to find another school to transfer to which is horrible especially during the last few years of high school.
I don’t understand why the diocese couldn’t use the money to improve the schools that have been up and running. There are a lot of schools in the diocese that could use the money to get high tech equipment, new textbooks, etc. They also could have used the money as scholarship money to the many who want to receive a Catholic education and cannot afford the constantly rising costs.
Because of the current economic situation, two more schools are going to be closed in addition to Kenrick. These other schools are not getting a new building. The money to build the new school could have been used to help out the other two schools. Once again, where are those students going to go?
After the announcement about the closure, Kenrick was not the same. It was hard to watch a school that was practically self-sufficient slowly fall apart. The building was not kept up unless absolutely necessary; teachers were leaving as soon as another teaching position opened up and very few freshmen came in. The school began to feel empty and dead. During my senior year, the administration tried to revive school spirit by giving us incentives to get us to participate in activities.
It was hard for me to hear the administration tell my senior class to be proud that we were one of the last classes to graduate from Kennedy-Kenrick. Throughout high school, I had those moments like every other student where I couldn’t stand the place, but in the long run, I miss it because I made so many memories. The experiences I had there definitely helped shape who I am today.
Since this is Kenrick’s last school year, a lot of the standard annual events have had a different meaning and emotion to them. There was the last homecoming game and dance, last sports events and last dinner theater and spring musical. In high school, I was really involved in the theater and have made a few lasting friendships from the shows. It was really emotional for me to watch the last dinner theater because that was one of the special programs that Kenrick had and it is hard to believe that it is over.
Even though my school is closing, I will always have the memories that I made and the close friendships I have. Even though the building may not be there, I believe that the spirit of the school community will live on. I just hope that authorities really think before they decide to close a school. They need to think of the past, current students and future students.