LEHIGHTON -- A Catholic school in Lehighton is saying farewell
Ss. Peter and Paul School closed its doors on Friday after 128 years.
Members of the Ss. Peter and Paul School community in Lehighton are struggling to say farewell to their school. It was a tearful good-bye for students, staff, and this entire community.
"The motto 'we are family' never meant as much as it does now."
Ss. Peter and Paul students are off to summer vacation after the final classes in Lehighton after this Catholic school's 128 years.
Students, teachers, and staff are struggling with the closure brought on by declining enrollment.
"Very sad, a lot of tears, your heart goes out to everybody, really. It's depressing in a way to think that this happened," said volunteer gym teacher Ted Pogo.
The 85 students must now move on.
Many worried about where their next school will be. For some, that means traveling to another community.
"Yeah, it's really different at St. Joe's because it's a really big school and lots is different," said first grader Kayla Kuznicki.
"There's four girls in my class and we're all going to different schools. I'm going to Our Lady of the Angels. My friend's going to St. Joe's. One of my other friends is going to St. Joe's the Worker," said seventh grader Courtney Kovatch.
The hallways at Ss. Peter and Paul school are lined with memories from the past 128 years, and as the community walks through for the final time, they're taking the photos with them.
Sandra Whiteman lives in Lehighton and used to walk to grade school there. She's taking some photos and snapping pictures of her own to remember this place that she says helped her and her four kids become so successful.
"It's just so sad. I wish there was some other way that something could have been done," Whiteman said.
Each student was given a tree to watch grow as they will in the years to come and a rosary.
The principal's final assignment for these students: to pray for one another as they struggle to say good-bye.
"There is healing to be worked through. They are family and they are supporting each other," said Ss. Peter and Paul Principal Sherri Sernak.
The school is keeping its doors open until 8 p.m. Friday.
Anyone is welcome to take one last walk down the halls at Ss. Peter and Paul school in Lehighton.
At 6 p.m. they will be opening a time capsule from the class of 2003 as part of their final farewell.