BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Institute of Notre Dame will close on June 30 and will not reopen next year, the all-girls high school announced Tuesday.
The school said decreased enrollment and loss of major financial supporters were major factors in their decision to close, while the coronavirus has added financial hardship.READ MORE: Sinkhole Closes Part Of Baltimore's North Avenue Until Further Notice
Enrollment is down 43 percent, leaders said, and the building requires millions of dollars in repairs.
“Regrettably, despite the unwavering dedication of the School Sisters of Notre Dame since our founding in 1847, and their generosity over the last several years – the Atlantic-Midwest Province has contributed several million dollars to try to keep our school in operation – it has recently become clear that there is no way forward – in spite of the tireless efforts of the Sisters, the Board of Trustees and the school’s leadership team.” Provincial Leader Charmaine Krohe said.
They said due to the coronavirus they will not be able to have a physical closing ceremony, but at a later date will hopefully be able to do one.
“It is our shared faith, hope, and love of Notre Dame, Our Lady, that will help us to accept what we cannot change and allow us to move forward courageously, positively and tenaciously. One Mind, One Heart. Mother Theresa, pray for us.” Krohe said.
The 173-year-old school is the oldest all-girls Catholic high school in the state. Students and alumnae mourned its closing.
“These steps and this building mean so much to all of us,” senior Anna Boyd said.
Now, she won’t be able to pass on the legacy to future generations.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Storm Threat Triggers Alert Day
“I was always dreaming of coming back here and visiting and sending my own daughter here just like my mom did,” she said.
Senior Sade Randall began tearing up when talking about the closure.
“I just never would have thought this would happen,” she said.
Nancy Longo, who graduated in 1980, said she was shocked by the announcement and is praying for a miracle.
“It made all the difference to me in my life and how I became the person I became,” she said.
In a statement, former Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a former student of the school, said she was profoundly saddened by the announcement.
“When I heard today that the Institute of Notre Dame would be closing its doors permanently a profound sadness came over me,” she said in part. “For over 170 years, IND has inspired young women to think independently and to act courageously, positively, and tenaciously. Baltimore is truly losing a treasured institution.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also a former student, weighed in on Twitter Tuesday night, calling it “sad news.”MORE NEWS: WATCH IT AGAIN: Fourth Of July Fireworks Light Up Baltimore's Inner Harbor
“Is creed – Pro Deo et Patria – is enshrined in our hearts,” she wrote.