Last St. Julie Brilliart Students Graduate
by Dirk Q. Allen
Three Badin High School
seniors represent the last hurrah for St. Julie Billiart School.
When Teresa Burch, Susan Gillespie and Andrea Schuler graduate from BHS on May 25th, the legacy of St. Julie will end – the school on Schuler Avenue in Hamilton closed in 2008, and those three are the final St. Julie Billiart graduates to finish at Badin.
“It’s emotional for us all,’’ said Gillespie, looking back. “You miss it.”
The trio went to school together throughout their St. Julie Billiart days. When they started in first grade, Gillespie recalled, there were 32 students in the class. By the time they graduated, with the school set to close, the class was down to eight – all girls.
“That last year was a lot of fun – we’d been together for a long time,’’ Schuler said. “It was a good year and it brought us all closer together.”
“They were excellent students at St. Julie Billiart, and I’m happy to see that they have done well in high school,’’ said Ed Schweinefuss, St. Julie Billiart’s principal for its final four years. “It’s like anything else – the closing of one chapter, and the opening of a new one.
“It’s sad the school had to close,’’ Schweinefuss added, “but I’m glad the girls did well. They blossomed at Badin and we have to feel that the faculty and staff at St. Julie Billiart had a hand in preparing them for that.”
“It was a fun year with just the girls,’’ Gillespie said of that eighth-grade year. “But it was really sad.”
“It was inevitable,’’ Burch said, “It was an old building; it had memories, it had been there for a long time. Our class had gotten so small.”
After having spent all of their school years together, the girls will split up next year. “It’s crazy,” Shuler said, “but it’s kind of cool. … At the same time, it’s sad and emotional.” She is headed to Xavier University, while Burch will attend Miami University-Hamilton, and Gillespiethe University of Cincinnati.
And there’s another new beginning in this story: The building on Schuler Avenue will reopen as a school this coming fall. The Richard Allen School – previously located at a portion of the former Champion Knightsbridge facility in Hamilton – has purchased the entire property from the parish and will set up shop there.