BURBANK, Ill. (WLS) --Queen of Peace High School, a Catholic college preparatory for girls in southwest suburban Burbank, will shut down at the end of the school year because of low enrollment.
Students and parents found out Tuesday night that the school would be closing its doors permanently at the end of the semester. They had no idea this was coming.
The school's marquee sign said there is still an Entrance Exam scheduled for Saturday, even though the school will no longer exist next year.
"I'm a sophomore and I thought that I was going to be here till I graduated," Isslee Lee said as she wiped away tears. "And I made a lot of great friends here."
The all-girls Catholic school is closing its doors at the end of the semester. The decision came as a shock to students and parents.
"Devastating to say the least. I'm sorry to start crying - didn't want to do this this morning - but I've been crying all night," said Isslee Lee, the mother of a sophomore student.
School President Anne O'Malley, who is an alumna of Queen of Peace, said the decision to shutter the school was difficult but necessary.
"It was a hard decision but over the years we saw our enrollment go down," O'Malley said.
About 1,400 students were enrolled during the school's heyday after opening in the 1960s at 7659 S. Linder Ave. That number was down to 684 in 2007, and less than 300 this school year, O'Malley said.
O'Malley said the 213 students, along with teachers and faculty, will have opportunities to be placed in Catholic schools in neighboring towns.
"I love the school so much. I couldn't believe it," freshman Alexandra Alvarez said.
But for most of these students, the commute will be longer and they'll be separated from their friends.
"Thinking about it makes me want to cry," freshman Kennedy Walker said.
Administrators said school fairs were scheduled for February and March as they develop "transition plans" for students to transfer.
There is an all-boys Catholic school right next door to Queen of Peace High School. They sent out a statement saying they will open their doors to them during this transition if needed.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.