The girls' volleyball team went from room to room, proudly displaying the trophies they had won?"first place for the junior varsity team and second place for the varsity team. The science fair had just ended and the eighth grade was getting ready for graduation.
In classrooms teachers got records together, took down bulletin boards and packed everything from their classrooms. Just the end of another school year. But this year is different. This is also the end of the school.
Mater Christi School, in an unpopular decision not of their own making will close for good on Friday?"a directive from the Chicago Archdiocese.
The reality of the situation hit the small school hard. Faculty and staff struggled with their emotions to continue "school as usual" for the benefit of their students. But it wasn't easy. The school that had become a home to many was to be no more.
As you pause to think what will become of the new trophies and the trophies that fill the showcases in the main hall of the school, you choose not to dwell on it for too long. Student, faculty and staff records will now be housed in the archives of the archdiocese; one group of records has already made its way downtown. Class pictures will be housed there also. The life of the little school will now exist in people's hearts and in the archives of the archdiocese.
Parents have been forced to make decisions regarding where their children will go to school next year. Teachers and staff have been seeking interviews in the search for new positions. All the while they have had to continue on with the day-to-day life in a school.
The last weeks, sad as they have been, were also filled with happy times. Events were planned to make pleasant memories, such as a trip to the Odyssey amusement center in Naperville. An all school trip to the Brookfield Zoo was fun for everybody. An Olympic Day was planned, with added surprises and games, and followed by a picnic on the school grounds.
Teachers planned parties for their classes and tried to keep the atmosphere upbeat. The final day of school will end with Mass as it has every year. Only this year, the final Mass would be the last time the students, faculty and staff of Mater Christi School would be together.
The students will leave and go on to other schools, the teachers will hopefully find employment elsewhere. It will be different for everyone.
After the students are gone the teachers will continue their task of closing the school and closing a chapter in the life of Mater Christi Parish and the Village of North Riverside. The little school became a reality 49 years ago after St. Mary's School in Riverside became too crowded. Now it's gone.
The sign board on the corner of 24th Street and 10th Avenue still will read "Mater Christi Church and School" only there is no school there are no more students. What will happen in the building still remains a question for many. There's one thing certain, we know what it won't be.
It is unfortunate that the decision to close the school was made, when in the minds and hearts of many it did not have to be. Plans to insure stability financially for the school were dismissed by the powers that be, and ours is not to reason why.
The final school bell will ring Friday, and the teachers and staff will be there to wish the children well with tears in their eyes. Goodbye! School is closed!