Our Lady of Victory school closes

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A day of joy, tears, hugs and goodbyes at one Catholic school on Chicago?s North side. (WLS)

A day of joy, tears, hugs and goodbyes at one Catholic school on Chicago's North side. Not just because this was the last day of school, but because this is the final day of school for Our Lady of Victory.

Our Lady of Victory School has been in this neighborhood for over 100 years. In a last minute decision Friday, the principal decided to say goodbye together as a school.

They prayed, they sang, and they said goodbye.

"It's devastating, it's really sad," said a parent.

Students, staff, faculty and family came outside the school for a final, farewell prayer and sang the school song one last time.

It was emotional and moving, especially for those that not only have children that go to school here, but graduated themselves.

"I'm an alum of OLV, my dad and my aunt also went here so they are graduates from the 1940's So we've been in the school and the parish for long time," said parent Maureen Brown.

It's hard to say goodbye to a staple that's been in this community since it was founded in 1910, especially to these students that have to start all over again.

"I feel really sad that I'm not going to see most of my friends again," said fifth grade student Teagan Handrigan.

The Archdiocese of Chicago says the money to keep this school operating is just not there anymore. They wanted to close the school two years ago, but the OLV family fought back, and through endless fundraising they managed to keep it open. Until they had no choice.

The archdiocese says the students will now be split and transferred to other Catholic schools. The staff, including teachers, have to look for new jobs.

For newly appointed principal Mary Feeney, who not only worked here for 20 years, but also went to school here since she was 4 years old, this day is heartbreaking.

"This place has been my home for as long as I can remember. Family and friends and wonderful staff and faculty I've worked with have been a part of my life forever," said Principal Mary Feeney.

Our Lady of Victory is one of four Catholic schools that will consolidate as part of the archdiocese's plan to restructure its budget.

Folks here can leave though, knowing they fought until the end.

"We did everything we could to kind of save this place, cause it meant so much to all of us," said Feeney.
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educationcatholic schoolschool closuresChicago - Jefferson Park
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