After nearly 10 years, Zion Middle School graduated its last class of four eighth graders earlier this month.
The school had classes for students in fifth through eighth grades at its campus at 105 S. Ham Lane. Attendance was down to fewer than 20 students when it closed, and parents were forced to enroll their incoming sixth, seventh and eighth graders into other schools.
"There were insufficient new enrollees to fund the cost of keeping the school operating," said Stewart C. "Bud" Adams Jr., an attorney and elder with Zion Reformed Church. But Adams said the church will examine ways it can serve Lodi's youth in the future.
Zion Middle School's principal was Jason Tacderan. The school was founded in September 1996.
Adams guessed that the popularity of public charter schools contributed to the school's downturn in enrollment: parents don't have to pay tuition in order to get their children in a school with small classes and focused education plans, he said.
"Heartbroken," said Sara Randall, about how she felt after the school's closing.
Randall pulled her daughter out of another private school two years ago to enroll her at Zion. " … It really was a place kids could go without all the peer pressure and all the garbage that goes along with junior high. It was a place they could feel safe."
First published: Thursday, June 29, 2006