St. Anthony High School In Jersey City Graduates Final Class

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — St. Anthony High School in Jersey City held its final graduation Saturday.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the basketball powerhouse announced it was closing this year due to financial difficulties.

The 34 final graduates of the now-shuttered school left to thunderous applause.

“They will be the youngest alumni’s forever,” said school athletic director Buddy Matthews.

As these graduates went their separate ways, there was some sorrow in knowing everyone else at the school is forced to scatter as well.

Shaniya Cooper-Smith, graduating from the school is family tradition. She was joined by family members who graduated in 1994, 1997, 1999, and 2013.

“Having my beautiful family also go here, it was hard to know that I’d be the last one and other people behind me can’t experience what we experienced,” Cooper-Smith said.

The Jersey City School opened in 1952.

The Archdiocese of Newark shut it down after struggling to solve its multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

Students not graduating must find other schools by September.

“It was a roller coaster, it was ups and downs throughout the way,” said graduate Jason Bell.

Gabriel Mandanas is valedictorian and a member of the school’s powerhouse basketball team.

“We are very honored to be the last ones, but at the same time it’s very sad to see it close,” Mandanas said.

The head of the school says every graduate here is a star. And the college acceptance rate?

“All of our students except for one — he’s going into the armed services,” said Chad Broussard, head of the school.

“We became closer because the school is so small, everybody knows everybody,” said graduate Nathaniel Waiters.

He predicts despite there being no school to return to, the St. Anthony classmates will return to each other.

The school sits on prime real estate, but the archdioceses has not yet said what it plans to do with the building.

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