Celebrating Saint Monica School

A Catholic school in Northumberland County is getting ready to close its doors for the last time, but not without one last hurrah.

In March Bishop Joseph McFadden decided to close Saint Monica School in Sunbury because of low enrollment.

Parents fought to keep the school open but were not successful.

Students celebrated the school’s 62 years Thursday with food, face-painting and lots of fun.

They ate snow cones, played games, even dunked their teachers. The students  seemed to enjoy the annual Fun Fair.

Even though they were having fun, many students were upset because they knew it would be the last Fun Fair at Saint Monica School.

“It’s sad because it’s such a great school and I’ve had such great opportunities here,” said seventh grader Tanner Maneval.

On Tuesday after 62 years of providing Catholic education in Sunbury, Saint Monica School will close.

“It’s been really hard on a lot of the kids.  My daughter feels like she’s losing a second home,” said Cynthia Frasca of Mifflinburg.

Staff and students found out in March that the Diocese of Harrisburg would close the school. Finances and low enrollment were the reasons given.

“It’s going to be hard to let that go because I really love this school and I don’t want to leave,” said seventh grader Patrick Rooney.

“We want to honor who we are, who we’ve been and what we’ve done for the community. So what we want to say is Saint Monica will live on through the students, teachers, all of us,” said principal Susan Bickhart.

She added there will be some more activities planned to celebrate the last day at Saint Monica School. She said a Mass will be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. followed by an open house.  

The last day of school will be a half day.

“We’re going to all blow bubbles. When you blow bubbles you can’t cry,” Bickhart added.

“Just the staff, the teachers and all my friends.  They were really supportive,” seventh grader Carmella Bickel said about the things she will miss.

There are currently 130 students at Saint Monica School in grades pre-k through eight.  The students will have several options for the next school year.  They can go to public school or attend one of two Catholic schools in Danville and Shamokin. Those schools are each about a half hour away from Sunbury.

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