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Local News

January 21, 2013

St. Camillus to close in May

Financial reasons cited for shutting down school

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — St. Camillus Academy, a center of learning, inspiration and life in Corbin for more than 100 years, will close its doors for good in May.

The private Catholic school, which sits atop a hill in East Corbin, will shut down at the end of the current school year.

The decision to close was made Tuesday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington, which has operated St. Camillus for the past two years. Diocese officials told school leaders that financial reasons were to blame for the closing.

It was Diocese Superintendent Tim Weaver who came to Corbin to tell the school about the closing. He first met Tuesday morning with Terry Newquist, the principal of St. Camillus. Then Weaver spoke with teachers in the afternoon, and later met with the school’s board in the evening.

Newquist told the students the news on Wednesday.

“We’re still in shock, to be honest. Our school council is just not willing to give up. We’d like to save the school, that’s what we have to look at. But we’re overwhelmed by this news right now,” Newquist said Wednesday morning.

 She added the reaction from the students was what one would expect, and that some were very upset by the news of the school’s closing.

“It’s been a tough day. That’s because we really are a family here. I know every student by name. The parents drop their kids off in the morning, talk to each other in the car lane, and pick them up in the afternoon. And everyone knows everyone else’s kids. This is a very close-knit community,” Newquist noted.

News of the school’s closing came during Newquist’s first year as principal. Like many who work at St. Camillus, she’s been with the school for years, which reinforces the sense of family that she has with students and staff.

“I’ve done every job there has to be done at the school. Drive the buses, clean the toilets, work in the cafeteria, teach, of course, and now principal.”

Newquist said those who want to save St. Camillus will begin to find ways to prevent its shutdown. Tuesday, the school will have a parent meeting at 7 p.m., to keep parents informed on what’s happening, and listen to ideas they may have.

Even with the clock ticking, the staff continues to hold out for hope.

“We can’t see where it is right now, but we still have hope,” she said.  “As one of our board members said last night (Tuesday), ‘If God wants this school to be open, it will be open.’”

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