Low enrollment will force South Hope Christian School to close its doors at the end of the school year.

The school, based at the South Hope Community Church on Main Street (Route 17), has been teaching area students for the last 37 years.

Principal Becki Martz said the school has to maintain an enrollment of about 50 students to operate and the school has been experiencing a declining student population. Tuition to the school is based on what the sending families can afford and then the church also helps to support the school. Currently there are 25 kindergarten to 12th-grade students.

“It’s hard, we just had our last home basketball game,” Martz said. “Since 1974 there have been Friday night ball games and you come and cheer your kids on.”

According to the South Hope Community Church website, the school began as a ministry of the church with grades kindergarten through eighth grade in the fall of 1974; the high school grades were added in 1978. The gymnasium was added in 1980. The purpose of South Hope Christian School is to give students an excellent education in a Christian atmosphere and to help young people conform to the image of Christ (Colossians 1:28, 29). The school also desires to see each of the students become a faithful witness and a testimony for the Lord in whatever His will directs, according to the site.

Some parents have indicated they will home-school their children, while others will attend other local Christian schools and public schools.

Including Martz there are six staff members at the school. Martz, who has worked there for six years and previously at Outward Bound, said she is unsure what she will do next.

“It’s sad, but there will be something that God has for us,” she said.

And with that thought, Martz said, she is looking forward to the future.