Woodlee's Christian Academy private school, located at 3915 Salem Road, walked its final group of graduates this year as school directors made the difficult decision to close the school after four graduating classes.
After non-seniors completed their final day of the school year on May 22, director Terri Knight announced the doors would close for good on May 27 due to continued low enrollment.
"We really were in hopes we would have an onslaught of enrollment," Knight said. "We've been praying for it for a long time. It just wasn't happening."
She said current enrollment numbers did not allow for a functional budget.
"We just reached the point where we couldn't keep going," Knight said.
Woodlee's moved to its current location in Covington in 2006. When the recession hit in 2008, Knight said, the mortgage attached to a new facility compounded enrollment difficulties, which had been down for years.
Knight, the daughter of founders John and Daisy Woodlee who started the school in 1970 as a day care center on Old Salem Road in Conyers, said she wanted to give her staff enough time to find other employment and her students enough time to find another school.
Once pre-K and kindergarten was added to the day care center, Knight said, a first grade class began around 1993-1994. Additional grades were added each subsequent year until a graduating class walked across the stage. Knight said this year the school taught 105 students and employed about 20 teachers and personnel.
"It's sad. It breaks everybody's heart," Knight said. "We're just kind of grieving together."
Woodlee's child care/day care, on Old Salem Road, is still open and operating.
Another local childcare center, Kids R Kids at 2000 Eastside Drive, Conyers, located off Salem Road across the street from Peachtree Academy, also closed as of May 31.