KETCHIKAN - Faced with declining enrollment, the Ketchikan Christian Academy is closing its doors after 32 years.
Staff, volunteers and students will say goodbye to the school when it closes its doors this week after the final graduation ceremony on Saturday. The last day for classes is on Wednesday.
School officials say dwindling enrollment is one of the reasons why the school is closing. The school opened with 12 students in 1976 and grew to 87 at the highest point. This year, 16 students are enrolled in the academy.
"The reason that we feel like it's time to close the school is basically enrollment factors," principal Jeff White said. "Enrollment has declined over the past several years. We could still go with what we've got, but we're just trying to make the decision while we're not being forced into it."
During its years of operation, more than 120 adults have been involved in teaching or other capacities in the school. More than 800 students have attended the school. The Christian academy taught students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
"Because of the church facility, the church support and the church creating the volunteers, we were always able to give the kids quality," said the Rev. Bill White. "We've concentrated on the kids rather than making profit. The profits went to the kids and that has paid off for them."
White is the pastor at the Ketchikan Church of God, to which the Ketchikan Christian Academy has been connected.
The Ketchikan Christian Academy opened in 1976. White and his wife Margaret started it to give their children a Christian-based education.
Serving children throughout Ketchikan has always been important to the school's founders.
"Their focus has always been for the children and the youth in the community," Jeff White said. "Once the ministry started, it exploded and started with a real healthy enrollment. They wanted to make this possible for as many families as were interested."