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January 17, 2013

St. Camillus to close in May

Financial reasons cited for Corbin school shutting down

(Continued)

CORBIN —

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. CAMILLUS

St. Camillus Academy in Corbin had its beginnings in 1908, when the pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Rev. Ambrose Reger, O.S.B., established a parish school and placed it under the direction of a lay teacher. He requested help and services of the Sisters of Divine Providence, and it September of that year, Sacred Heart School opened with 23 students, most of them non-Catholics.

By 1910, the number of students had steadily increased and three years later, Father Ambrose Reger couldn’t support the growing school, and there were requests for a high school to be established. On September 8, 1913, the Sisters of Divine Providence began an academy, known then (and now) as St. Camillus Academy. It was open to elementary and high school students in a Laurel Street residence.

More students attending meant a bigger building, and in 1914, a 35-acre tract of land overlooking what’s now Master Street was the site of the new academy building. The structure was dedicated on May 19, 1915. Designed by David Davis, the new building was “strikingly beautiful in structure and setting.” Built in a French chateau style, it gave a commanding view of the city of Corbin.

The first graduation there was held June 7, 1917. The building was enlarged with an annex that included a chapel, a library, and two classrooms in 1921.

It was 1972 when construction was started on a one-floor open school building to accommodate an enrollment of 300 students in grades 1-12. Classes began there in September 1973. In September 1985, the first Kindergarten class was opened with 14 pupils. That same year also saw a new computer lab opening for high school students. A Montessori class was added to St. Camillus for the first time in 1992. Four years later, a decline in enrollment and increasing expenses caused the high school to close.

In recent years, a larger building housing the cafeteria, along with other rooms and offices was completed in 2004. In June 2008, the old academy building was demolished. In 2011, the school dropped 7th and 8th Grade Classes.

And on January 15, 2013, the Diocese of Lexington announced St. Camillus Academy would close in May, at the end of the current school year.

SOURCES: “History of St. Camillus Academy” at school’s website, www.stcamillusacademy.cdlex.org; and Times-Tribune archives

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