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Open house, Mass, and outdoor party planned to celebrate 70 years of St. Ann School
By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (June 1, 2021) – On January 21, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced that St. Ann School would be closing at the end of its school year. That time has now arrived, and the school is giving the St. Ann community a last chance to say goodbye.
The school’s “Final Farewell” will take place on Saturday, June 5 and includes an open house, Mass, and an outdoor party.
70 years comes to a close
Attendees on Saturday will not only lament the closing of a community stalwart, but celebrate the school’s 70th year and impact on thousands of students throughout the decades.
In January, the Archdiocese cited lack of enrollment and financial deficits as the reason for the school’s closing. Although fundraising efforts drew in tens of thousands of dollars in donations, the campaign was not ultimately enough to keep the school open.
Given that reality, the community has pivoted to a mentality of somber celebration as St. Ann’s final school year comes to a close this week ahead of the “Final Farewell” event.
“When you grow up in a place that is alive and thriving, and see generations come through after you, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that it will ever stop serving in that capacity,” said St. Ann School Director of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Gray. “You may only give your grammar school a passing thought as an adult, but you never expect it to cease to exist. Seeing it again will help people with their sense of closure.”
In March, the Archdiocese announced another change that will affect the Lansing Catholic community — the combination of St. Ann Parish with both St. James and St. John Parishes. Operations will continue largely as normal at St. Ann Church, however.
St. Ann open house
The open house will be from 1–4 p.m. on Saturday, as alumni, teachers, parents, church members, and any other community members are invited to walk through the school.
“The tours will be self-guided, but we will have alumni and parents available to answer questions and give direction,” said Gray. “This is taking place the day after the last day of school (of this very unconventional year), so teachers will have disassembled their rooms, and it will not look like it does when school is in session.”
Although RSVPs are requested for the open house, they are not required. Gray said protocol requires that parties touring the school must provide their name and phone number at the door for contact tracing purposes. The RSVP about the tour, along with an informal RSVP about the party afterwards, is available here.
“We want alumni to have a chance to revisit the school and then join together with our current community to celebrate the 70 years of St. Ann School history,” Gray said.
Mass and outdoor party
After a 4 p.m. Mass at St. Ann Catholic Church, the community is invited to a party in the parking lot at 5 p.m. The party will include food and drinks, live music, a DJ, raffle baskets, and activities for kids including a gaming truck, Disney princesses, and water balloons.
“The raffle baskets are the ones that would have been part of our March 2020 Casino Night at the Palace that was canceled due to COVID-19,” Gray said.
The party will follow social distancing protocols and masks are required when moving.
- St. Ann School to close at school year’s end (January 22, 2021)
- St. Ann School needs community support to stay open (January 4, 2021)
- St. Ann Parish to join with St. James and St. John as one parish (March 18, 2021)