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Institute of Notre Dame closed before some students could graduate. Catholic High School of Baltimore is awarding diplomas with former school’s emblem to 15 graduates

After the Institute of Notre Dame announced that the class of 2020 would be the Baltimore Catholic school’s last graduates, the remaining students scattered around the region to finish their education at other institutions.

About 15 of those young women graduated Tuesday from Catholic High School of Baltimore, which will acknowledge the teens’ ties to the shuttered institution. The students receiveed an IND emblem on their diploma and could wear their former school colors as a blue and white tassel on their graduation caps, Catholic High officials said in a news release.

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Christine Szala, former head of school at IND, attended the ceremony, according to Catholic High officials. The Catholic High choir sung the IND school song and 15 red roses were placed in the flower arrangement on the cathedral altar, the release stated.

The graduates could not be reached for comment.

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The ceremony came at a time of special significance for Maryland students, many of whom have missed out on other childhood milestones because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Institute of Notre Dame — Maryland’s oldest Catholic college preparatory school for girls — announced the closure in May 2020 after educating young women in the same East Baltimore building for more 170 years. The school was founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Its graduates have included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski.

At the time of the announcement, school officials cited declining enrollment, financial difficulties and a need to raise millions of dollars to cover at least $5 million in building repairs as some of the reasons for the closure.

Meanwhile, Catholic High officials signaled that their school is fairing well despite potential educational and economic difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

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“While several Catholic all-girls’ high schools have closed in Baltimore in recent years, Catholic High has continued to thrive,” the release states.

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