After educating students in Indianapolis, Ind., for more than 130 years, Broad Ripple High School has said farewell to its final graduating class.
The Indianapolis Star reports that Broad Ripple, which opened in 1886, is one of three high schools that the Indianapolis district is closing as part of a reorganization spurred by declining enrollment, budget deficits and the desire for a more engaging academic program.
Jennifer Argumedo, valedictorian for Broad Ripple's Class of 2018, choked back tears at the graduation as she spoke to her class, WFYI reports. She says students have been unable to escape the concerns about the school closing
“It’s not like we can come back and visit our favorite classes, or walk the halls while reminiscing on good memories," she said. "When we leave this building it is over. It is closing and we can’t come back.”
Arlington and Northwest high schools also are closing this year, but the campuses will reopen in the fall as middle schools. John Marshall Middle School, formerly a high school, is also closing permanently.
The school board voted in September on the extensive reorganization plan, which also called for the closure of two administrative buildings. Four high schools will remain open in the district: Tech, Washington, Shortridge and Attucks.
Beginning in the fall, high school students will not be assigned to a school based on where they live. Instead, each school will offer several college- and career-related academies, and students will choose their school based on the program that interests them.
The district hopes to sell Broad Ripple High School, though it will have to work through some challenges in state law to do so.
A few state officials and community members want the Broad Ripple campus to remain a school. Two charter school organizations—Purdue Polytechnic and The HIM by HER Foundation—are interested in the building.
Developers are also interested in the property.