Catholic School Closes For Good

An ice cream party gave St. Clare second graders some sweet memories to cherish, as they said good-bye to each other and their Waveland school.

"I want chocolate syrup," says one boy.

"I want vanilla and sprinkles," says a girl.

While some students took pictures, others took home souvenirs, like their desks.

"It reminds me of the memories I had at St. Clare," says second grader Conner Ladner.

It was a bittersweet day as well for teachers like Barbara Worrel.  Leaving a school where she has taught for 29-years wasn't easy.

"Sadness. Sadness. I'm going to miss all this," says Barbara Worrel.

Terry Asher also has strong ties to the school.  He went to school at St. Clare. and that's where he chose to send his two sons.

"When I was in Kindergarten, I came here in 1969, and Hurricane Camille hit. The school was gone then too," says Terry Asher. "I used to tell my kids about me being in trailers and everything and never imagined that the same thing would happen to them."

St. Clare was rebuilt a year after Camille. Since Katrina's destruction, the school has been operating out of Quonset huts. But a new St. Clare won't be coming back.

"It's tough. Very tough," says Asher. "All the parents here really fought to have the school reopen. It's emotional for everybody."

"It's the center of the community," says Sr. Ruth Angelette.

She was the principal when St. Clare opened in 1964. She returned to the campus on the day it closed for good.

"It was my Camelot," says Sr. Ruth. "It gives me closure. A sad closure, but it does."

"Don't leave me Ms Morrel," said one student as he hugged his teacher.

While the school will no longer exist, many believe the St. Clare spirit will live on.

"A lot of things have changed since Katrina, and we can't control that," says Sr. Ruth. "We have to look forward and have the hope, and faith, and spirit to move forward."

In the Fall, St. Clare will merge with Bay Catholic Elementary in Bay St. Louis to become "Holy Trinity School". The St. Clare property may be used for a parish hall and new home for the pastor.