Elgin Academy to close at end of school year after 185 years

John Garcia Image
Friday, November 10, 2023
Elgin Academy to shut down after 185 years
The Elgin Academy has announced the private school will close 2024 after operating for 185 years in the west suburb.

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- The end of this school year will also bring an end to an educational era.

Elgin Academy will close its doors for good after 185 years of teaching children.

Students in the science class at the school get plenty of personal attention from their teacher. That's because there are only four students in the class.

In fact, in the entire school, Kindergarten through high school, there are only 185 students.

It makes for a close family and a great education, but financially, it's become tough to sustain, school leaders said.

That's why Elgin Academy leaders announced after nearly two centuries they will close after this academic year.

Laura Suffi's son is a recent alum.

"The school's been there 185 years," Suffi said. "We survived the Civil War. We survived all these economic downturns."

However, the school can no longer survive.

The sprawling campus at its peak held about 400 students. Now it's less than half that.

School officials said they are finding fewer parents who are willing to shell out big bucks for a private education these days. Right now it costs them much more per student than they are able to take in.

"We've been able to stay open because we had a very strong endowment, and good investments and things like that, but as enrollment declined, in order to keep things going, we had to use those assets," interim head of School Paul Druzinsky said.

Current students will have to find a new school. Taelor Kendzy's daughter Paisley is in fourth grade.

"We found Elgin Academy. She loved it," Kendzy said. "It's been great. I never have to bug her to go to school."

Elgin Academy has offered help and support for parents finding new schools and for long time employees looking for new employment. In the meantime, they are committed to making this year as memorable as they can.

"It's sad for the whole community," Kendzy said. "It's been around so long. It's a really great school. It's just gonna be a huge loss."

The final graduation ceremony at Elgin academy will happen in early June. Then, the school will close its doors for good, barring what they said would be an unforeseen miracle.