Notre Dame Catholic School Alumni heartbroken over decision to close school

Decision leaves Wichita Falls without an option for Catholic education
Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 6:58 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Since 1904, Notre Dame Catholic school in Wichita Falls has been providing students with Catholic education and has been the only place to do so in the city since the 1970s. On Thursday, however, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth made the decision to close the school at the end of the school year.

“We were absolutely shocked and devastated,” said Notre Dame Alumni and former teacher Missy McCartney. “I feel like I grew up there.”

For McCartney, the decision meant the loss of much more than just a school.

“I’m from a huge family and all of us went to school there, my brothers and sisters, my cousins, it just felt like home,” said McCartney.

The Diocese cited a number of financial burdens such as “costly maintenance” and “building renovations,” in addition to enrollment concerns as some of the reasons for their decision.

“The school had so many bright spots, we were growing,” said former principal Joe Cluley. “We were taking people on tours in the spring because they wanted to look at the school to bring their children, everything was on the upswing.”

In addition to Cluley, who served as principal from 1992 to 1998 and is an alumnus, others in the Notre Dame community believe the school could have overcome the financial challenges with another year or two to do so.

“We had finally turned a corner and then had it taken away,” said Cluley.

The school will continue to operate through graduation before closing its doors at both campuses for good, leaving those in Wichita Falls without an option for Catholic education.

“It is like your family, the people you go to school with,” said McCartney. “You know them and their parents are like your parents, it’s just heartbreaking.”

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