News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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January 19, 2013

John Paul II High School to close

TERRE HAUTE — John Paul II Catholic High School will close at the end of the current school year, the board of governors announced “with heavy hearts” on Friday.

The last class of seniors will graduate June 16.

“We didn’t have the resources to continue next year,” said Ryan Cummins, president of the board of governors. “It is too bad. A lot of people put in a lot of work over the years.”

The school, which currently has 18 students, is housed at 1330 Lafayette Ave., which formerly served as Sacred Heart School.

John Paul II Catholic High School has been financed through tuition, fundraisers and donations by individuals, organizations and foundations, Cummins said.

“It got to the point we weren’t able to solidly have those resources in place or at least committed to, and we had to make the decision” to close in June, he said.

The six-member board of governors made that decision, and Cummins announced it to parents and students on Friday afternoon. “It was very difficult,” Cummins said.

The school has nine paid teachers and staff, full-time and part-time, as well as many volunteers, he said.

The Catholic high school began as a ministry of St. Patrick Parish in fall 2000. The goal was to provide students with a strong academic course of study as well as continuing instruction in the tenets of the Catholic faith, according to a news release.

“We are proud to state that over the course of the last 13 years, the school has fulfilled this mission with exceptional dedication and excellence,” the release stated. “The teachers and administration of the school, a combination of both volunteers and paid staff, demonstrated this dedication in their daily efforts teaching all the students that were fortunate enough to attend over the years.”

Cel Lundstrom was the school’s first director, and Sandy McBroom is the current director. The quality of education students received was the first priority, officials said.

As a result, more than 40 graduates of John Paul II Catholic High School continued their education “at some of the best colleges and universities in the country,” according to the news release.

Graduates have gone on to Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Purdue and Indiana universities, as well as Catholic colleges including the University of Dayton, Xavier, Ave Maria and Franciscan University.

“JPII students excelled, in part due to the instruction received at the school,” the release stated.

Cummins noted that many people in the community are committed to a Catholic high school education, “and they may try and come together and see if they can put together something else,” he said. “It remains to be seen what might be offered.”

In the news release, the board thanked those who have supported the school with their “time, talent and treasure.”

The board also thanked the parishioners and staff of St. Patrick Church, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Terre Haute and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for their support.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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