Elgin Academy holds final 8th grade graduation ceremony ahead of school's closure

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Friday, May 31, 2024
Elgin Academy holds final 8th grade graduation ceremony
Elgin Academy held its final 8th grade graduation ceremony Thursday as the school closes down for good next month.

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- For nearly two centuries, Elgin Academy has served generations of students, hosting more than 150 ceremonies, such as the 8th grade graduation on the campus quad on Thursday.

However, this year's ceremony was unlike any other as it will be the last 8th grade class to graduate there.

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"It's really been incredibly both heartwarming and sad experience," said Paul Druzinsky, Head of School at Elgin Academy.

After 185 years, the west suburban school will be closing its doors for good next month.

It is a place 8th grade graduate Akhil Peddhapati has attended since 1st grade.

"I was very sad because I didn't want to leave these wonderful people behind and it was just really heartbreaking honestly," Peddhapati said.

For graduate Grace Davis, saying goodbye to Elgin Academy will be like saying goodbye to family.

"It feels like this is really a home for me. It's such an amazing campus and all the people who I am best friends with are here so I am going to miss it a lot," Davis said.

School leaders say after a decade of declining enrollment numbers, the school made the tough decision to shut down.

"We almost felt like there was a death in the family because it was part of family," parent Bhaskar Peddhati said.

Parents recalled what made the school standout.

"Because of the small class, because of the devotion of the teachers because of the sense of community that these school engender they really create special students," parent Carr Davis said.

The school now prepares to graduate its seniors this weekend.

The final "last" of Elgin Academy's rich history to carry on a lasting legacy.

"It's not the buildings, it's not the campus, it's the shared experiences and the friendships and the shared values and those are the things that really keep people together," Druzinsky said.