Updated 08/01/2012 05:00 PM
DeSales High School Closing
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Some places leave a lasting mark.
"DeSales is different from any other school," said Danny Hastings.
The small Catholic high school in Geneva doesn't have the best computers or classrooms.
"It doesn't have the pretty much best anything."
But what it does have can't be replaced.
"It's the group of family. We all love each other," Danny said.
DeSales opened 100 years ago; a century of spirit, tradition, and community.
"Once you get involved with DeSales, blue and gold just runs through your veins," said Peter Cheney, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
But all of that is coming to an end. Dwindling enrollment and shrinking funding forced the board of trustees at DeSales to shut the school down.
"I wasn't really expecting this at all," Danny said.
Danny Hastings was in the class of 2012; the last graduating class ever at DeSales.
"I wasn't really sad for myself, because I had a great four years. But I really felt for my friends who now have to choose a different school to go to."
"We're not just a school. We look out for each other and we're gonna miss each other," said Adam Palmer.
Adam is one of the fewer than 100 students who now have a month to find a new school.
"DeSales is going to be part of my life. I'm always going to be a DeSales Saint. I guess just move on and try my best wherever I end up."
"I'm very upset because DeSales meant everything to me and I don't want to go to another school," said Erica DiDuro.
The closest Catholic Schools for students are now in Auburn or Rochester.
"I'm like speechless. I don't know what to say because my whole family has gone through DeSales. My heart is broke," said Braedy Maher.
"100 years, that's a long time. My mother went here, but brother went here, his father went here," said Sheila Cecere.
Word of the closing drew both current students and Alumni. Sheila Cecere graduated in the 1960s.
"It's gone, yeah. It'll never open again. It's a shame. Sad to see it go. A lot of memories."
The decision to close DeSales comes after many people thought the school had been saved. Back at the end of June, the board voted to open for the upcoming school year, knowing it was still $90,000 short of the money needed.
"It was the last thing we wanted to do, but it was the responsible thing," said Cheney.
Peter Cheney says the school was 20 students short of what it needed to sustain operations. He knows the pain. His son was supposed to be a senior this year.
"We just always said we wouldn't close halfway through the year. So what's worse? Trying to close now and letting kids get established, or uprooting them halfway through the school year."
At the end of last school year, Danny Hastings painted a tribute to his class, and 100 others that have graduated.
"Looking back at it, it sorta seems like a gravestone or tombstone or something like that," he said.
"We've stretched every penny we could in the budget. We just have nowhere else to pull it from," said Cheney.
Come September, the halls of DeSales will stay dark. But the spirit of the school will remain – inextinguishable.
"It's too bad, because the private schools have a very needed place in the community. The children are here for a reason. And it's just gonna be sad that we won't be here for those kids that need us," Cheney said.