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Institute of Notre Dame announces closure set for June 30

Posted at 4:03 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 07:39:19-04

BALTIMORE — The Institute of Notre Dame has announced that this will be the high schools final school year and they are set to close the institute on June 30.

A statement was made by the institute through a letter to the community.

Shaniya Randle, who is a senior at IND, said the announcement on the school's closing is heartbreaking.

“To hear that our last class is the last class to be here, It was kind of devastating for me," she said.

The announcement comes in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced schools across the state to turn to distance learning.

Senior Riley Colomb said this news is the final blow to an already tough year.

"I didn’t know if I was even going to have a graduation," she said. "Now to find out that the place I was going to be graduating from is going to close forever, I was just like that is just crazy to me.”

More than a half dozen seniors, including Randle and Colomb visited the school Tuesday, sharing some final moments at a place they say they will remember forever.

"I kind of built home here," Randle said. “I learned how to be a woman, a young lady.”

Maria Murphy, who graduated from IND in 2017, also visited the school to take pictures after hearing about the closure on social media.

"It feels like a death of somebody," she said.

Murphy said she learned about herself during her time at IND and how to be a woman. She said the school can never be replaced.

"What I remember most is how important they try to make women feel which is being yourself [and] always going," she said.

Donna Taylor's daughter is a senior at the school. She's said she feels for the students, who thought the school was going to be there home for the next four years.

"It's a very sad day for IND, for the community [and]for all the students here," she said. “I pray for all of the students here that they are able to find homes and that they are able to move forward.”

The Institute has been apart of Baltimore history for nearly 200 years. It’s the oldest Baltimore girls catholic school with graduates that include current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

They school stated that several factors have contributed to the decision including enrollment decline, loss of financial contributions as well as costly repairs to their building.

The full letter can be read below:

Dear Members of the Institute of Notre Dame Community,

It is with great sadness that we write to you today to announce that this school year will be our last. Our beloved Institute of Notre Dame (IND) will close on June 30.

We had hoped to have a different outcome and have been trying valiantly the last several years to build a sustainable future. Several factors have contributed to our very recent decision: our enrollment continues to decline and is down 43% from 5 years ago; some of our major supporters have advised us they will no longer be able to provide us with financial contributions; and we currently discount our tuition almost 30%, through financial aid to our students with 90% of our student body receiving some assistance. Additionally, our building requires $5 million of repairs, just to allow us to continue to use it. It would require $34 million to make it a state-of-the-art facility. Identifying and moving to another campus would take time and significant resources. And now, Covid-19 has caused significant, added financial hardship.

Taking all of this into account, to remain open we would need to raise many millions of dollars, immediately. And we would need to substantially increase our fundraising goals each year going forward or significantly increase the tuition, or a combination. 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.

We recognize that this news brings with it many emotions in what has already been a very emotional year. We deeply regret that we cannot be together physically, to comfort and support each other. Hopefully, at a future date, we will be able to hold a closing ceremony, to allow all of us to come together as a community, to mourn, to celebrate and to remember all that IND has meant to us.

We will remain forever grateful to all of you for your loyalty and dedication to IND throughout the years. You have given generously of your time, your talents and your treasure. And we are better because of your efforts.

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.

Councilwoman Shannon Sneed released the following statement in response to the closure of the Institute of Notre Dame.

"It is a sad day when a school that formed leaders like Speaker Pelosi, Senator Mikulski, and Navy Captain Joan Queen, closes. IND did not just educate women, it formed leaders. These trailblazers serve as role models to young girls who hope to follow in their footsteps. The closure of IND will leave a gap that cannot be filled."