“It’s like a death when a school closes.” That’s what the superintendent of schools for the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese said back in January when she announced the end for St. Bernardine’s School.
Now after a semester-long wake, St. B’s is shutting its doors, wrapping up a 98-year run and turning its final graduating class loose upon the world. There is so much to admire about this school both in its glory years and in its final decline. We are inspired even in our sadness.
When former, long-time principal Eleanor Kraft talks about the school’s many graduates we appreciate her mentioning both the sterling successes but also the well-lived lives of a local cop and a Peace Corps worker that started on Elgin Avenue. Current principal Veronica Cash touts the “true diversity” of the last batch of 100 kids who composed St. Bernardine’s and we like that, too, because it reflects the fascinating and complex village Forest Park has become.
St. B’s has celebrated and it has mourned these final months. It will be forever woven into the history and the memory of Forest Park.