Catholic school in Delaware County to shut down - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Catholic school in Delaware County to shut down

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Petersburg (KWWL) -

After 30 years, Archbishop Hennessy Catholic School in Delaware County will be closing.

The school, which includes children enrolled in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, has less than 50 students this school year. 

"The board of Education, worked with the parish councils and talked about what the future of the school would be, and it was decided that the school would close at the end of this year due to declining enrollment," said Steve Cornelius, school principal.

Right now, there are only 45 students. Some of the grades have three students, so they've combined grades to make the class sizes larger.

"What I'm gonna miss most is that close-knit family feeling, that we are here at Hennessy," said Laura Herbers, lead teacher. "We bring everyone here together to work together, to help each other, older students buddy up with the younger students."

When enrollment is low, it becomes too costly to keep the doors open. "Yes, that's very definitely the situation that we have. As the enrollment declines, expenses go up," added Cornelius.

The focus now is to make the year like no other for the students. 

"We're gonna make it a great year. We're gonna plan activities to celebrate our memories here at Hennessy, and just make it a memorable year as a whole,"  Herbers said.

Although Archbishop Hennessy Catholic School is closing, the goal for administrators is for students to continue their Catholic education. Options are two neighboring schools -- St. Francis Xavier School about 10 miles away in Dyersville, and La Salle Catholic School about 15 miles away in Holy Cross. 

As for faculty and staff, they have been dedicated to the school for years. We're told they will be receiving help in finding a new job.

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