Emotional last day as St. Augustine’s School closes after 147 years

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local Catholic school wrapped up its very last day Thursday.

It was an emotional last day as students and teachers left the school for the last time. In February, it was announced that St. Augustine’s School in Troy would close after the school year was over.

After 147 years, students left St. Augustine’s for the very last time on Thursday. Some of them even had tears in their eyes.”

Carol and Jim McFarland met at St. Augustine’s when they were in kindergarten. Jim took Carol to the movies for their first date when they were in 6th grade.

“So I could put my arm around her,” Jim said. “That’s how we all got started.”

Even after Carol graduated, she stayed at the school. She’s been a crossing guard there for the last 39 years.

“Here’s my crossing sign,” she said. “The original one.”

And when she couldn’t do it, Jim stepped up.

“This time when she got cancer and she couldn’t make it, I called the police department and they let me cover for her,” Jim said.

Everyone at the school knows who Carol is.

“Some of the people said to me today that sat with me said, ‘You used to cross me and my grandmother or whatever when we were little,'” Carol said.

She has a special connection with first grader Mason Luby.

“With the stop sign she smacks my head with it,” he said. “Once in a while, I hold it, and then I just give it back to her.”

But on Thursday, Mason didn’t give it back. He said he’ll miss seeing his friend every day at school.

“It’s closing down, and I’ve been here for three years,” he said.

The school’s attendance has been down over the past several years, and the school has been strapped for money.

Some families have generations have attended St. Augustine’s. Deborah Webster’s children went to the school, and she’s been a teacher there for years.

“It is sad for all of us because this is our home,” she said. “And they’re all going different places, but they know they’ll see us, but it won’t be the same.”

Principal Patricia Balmer said St. Augustine’s is more than just a school.

“It’s a family; it really is a family here,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’d do it again.”

A ride many, including Jim and Carol, never wanted to end.

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