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Catholic School In Burbank To Close After 55 Years

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An all-girls Catholic school in southwest suburban Burbank has said it will close at the end of the school year, due to increasing financial demands and declining enrollment.

Queen of Peace High School, in Burbank, was founded in 1962. Over the past 55 years, more than 15,000 girls have attended classes, but this will be the last year for the school.

Enrollment has declined steadily from about 1,400 students at the school's peak in the 1960s, to fewer than 300 this school year.

Officials said it costs more than $15,000 per student to run the school, and tuition is only $10,000 a year, so Queen of Peace has been operating at a loss while continuing its mission of educating young girls, in keeping with the Catholic tradition.

The school was founded by the Sinsiniwa Dominican Sisters, based in Wisconsin.

Students and parents were understandably upset when they learned Wednesday morning the school would be closing its doors for good in June.

"The news was very devastating, to say the least. I was all ready to start crying," Queen of Peace parent Isslee Lee said after learning this will be the last year for the school.

Her daughter, Isslee Jr., a sophomore, said she was looking forward to graduating from Queen of Peace.

"I made a lot of good friends here, and it's just kind of sad," she said.

Senior Kelly Tomaskovic transferred to Queen of Peace after Mt. Assisi Academy in Lemont closed her freshman year.

"I feel so bad, because now I have to watch these girls go through what I went through," she said.

Freshman Kennedy Walker said she's already made some great friends in less than a year at the school

"Thinking about it just makes me want to cry," she said.

Queen of Peace president Anne O'Malley called the decision to close heartbreaking, and promised to work with students as they transfer to new schools.

O'Malley graduated from Queen of Peace 40 years ago, and she said she's confident the school's legacy will live on in the girls.

"They will thrive. They will take what they've learned; the Dominican values, and carry them on," she said.

A fund will assist students who need financial aid to complete their high school education at Catholic schools.

A series of meetings has been scheduled for students and their parents to help them smooth out the transition.

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