Immaculata Catholic High School closed its doors forever last spring, bringing an end to more than a century of Catholic secondary education in Leavenworth.

But Catholic education continues in the First City of Kansas.

Approximately 150 students in kindergarten through eighth grade are attending Xavier Catholic School this fall. Another 105 students are attending Catholic preschool.

“Not everyone believed this was possible, given the recent closing of Immaculata Catholic High School, with many openly wondering about Xavier’s future and long-term viability,” said Angela Chmidling, secretary of the Board of Trustees of the school district, in an email. “However, a key consideration in closing Immaculata, with its rapidly dwindling enrollment and increasing debt, was to assure financial stability and continued viability of preschool through eighth grade Catholic education in the Leavenworth County community.”

Chmidling said several initiatives have begun to chart a course for success for the Catholic school system in Leavenworth, including working in close collaboration with students, parents, parishes and the Board of Trustees. The school system also is participating in the archdiocese’s School Sustainability Pilot Project and the Catholic Education Foundation scholarship program.

Rolly Dessert, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the school district, said he is impressed with the direction of Catholic education in Leavenworth.

“I’m seeing a much greater sense of collaboration among the community,” Dessert said in an email, “and creating irreversible momentum is the key to success. Our focus centers on sustaining this Catholic school system and the quality education it provides to our students in a nurturing environment.”

Evie Porter, principal at Xavier Catholic School, said school spirit is high.

“The energy level in our school is beyond measure,” she said in an email. “Our wonderful students are excited about being back in school, and the faculty and staff are committed to preparing our children academically and vocationally in the many activities Xavier offers, to include competitive sports, band and choir, Spanish, art projects and community service.”

The Leavenworth Regional Catholic School System Board of Trustees announced Jan. 4 that declining enrollment at the high school led to the decision to close the school forever at the end of the spring semester. Immaculata had about 60 students last spring.

What is to become of the building that housed Immaculata Catholic High School is uncertain. The building is owned by the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas.

“The objective is to sell the building,” Dessert said.

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