Generations of women returned to their high school Sunday afternoon to say goodbye, recovering memories of adolescence at Saint Basil Academy as they walked the halls for the last time.

There was the nun who admitted to having a crush on Harrison Ford. A group of friends remembered the beloved hot cheese on a roll with sauce, sort of a meatball sub without the meatballs, that they could never quite make as well as the school cafeteria. In 1976 the girls dressed up in colonial-style dresses to celebrate the bicentennial, remembered a group of women who graduated that year. Another pair of friends, as they walked up a flight of stairs, recalled how hot the un-air-conditioned school could get.

“Sixteen years later and we’re still on fire,” joked Amanda Harvey, class of ‘05.

The high school, established in Jenkintown in 1931, is a victim of dwindling enrollment in Catholic schools that just this year is forcing not only its closure, but also Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote and Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School in Philadelphia. Nationally, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said, about 150 Catholic schools have closed due in part to pressure from the pandemic.

This weekend the school graduated about 60 seniors, and only about 40 freshmen were expected to begin classes in the fall. A fund-raising campaign this year was unable to reach its goal of a $3 million to $5 million endowment, create a reliable source of $300,000 in annual donations, and ensure an incoming class of at least 60.

» READ MORE: St. Basil students, alums are devastated after learning the Jenkintown Catholic school will close

The school building on Fox Chase Road is being shopped to developers, said nuns from the Ukrainian Catholic Sisters of Basil the Great, which run the school.

“I drive by every day on the way to work and it’s going to be really weird when they pull this building down,” said Nancy Cantwell, one of the women from the class of ‘76.

About 700 former students attended Sunday’s open house, a chance for alums to see the school one last time, and groups of high school friends fell into old rhythms in the rooms where they ate lunch or performed in school plays. Many noted their closest friends were still their former classmates.

“This is heartbreaking,” said Stephanie Nagata, class of ‘06, as she showed her three daughters her old English classroom. “It’s crazy how all our friends from here stayed attached.”

When she was a student there she was Stephanie McLane, class president, soccer player, basketball player, and someone who prided herself on being friends with everyone.

“We were weird,” she said. “It was okay to be a strange person here.”

The all-girls school offered a respite from the pressure and competition concerns about mixing with the opposite sex could create, said Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski, the provincial superior of the order and principal of the school from 1975 to 1985.

“Less distraction, don’t have to worry about how they look,” she said.

Another former principal, Sister Lydia Anna Sowka, recalled noticing the camaraderie among the students when she began working there.

“What surprised me most was how they called each other, ‘The Sisterhood,’” she said.

The school had its quirks. Everyone had to study Ukrainian. In the chapel, former students recalled a ritual in which every student had to give a brief hug to every other student in the school’s chapel, a symbol of atonement for any wrongs done.

Outside, women from three families jumped for a photo in front of the school. Three are sisters from one family, two are sisters from another, and a third woman was friends with all the others.

Jillian Fornito, class of ‘00, waved hello to one teacher who she said set her on her career working for a nonprofit dedicated to international dialogue. The teacher gave her a craving for seeing other parts for the world.

“Now I travel once a month.” said Fornito, executive director of the Global Interdependence Center in Philadelphia.

» READ MORE: 4 school closures in 10 years: This family has been hit especially hard by shrinking Catholic schools

Her sister, Molly Fornito, class of ‘03, remembered taking an admission test for the school with one of the other women there, Kathleen Pale. The two had been classmates since first grade, Fornito recalled.

“When Kathleen and I took our entrance exam together we were praying that we’d both get in,” Fornito said.

Then, she started crying, the weight of the memories and the loss of her school, hitting her.

Pale brought her 4-year-old daughter Quinn with her to the gathering. She hoped one day her daughter would go to school there, too, as she and her two sisters had. Another one of her close friends, Danielle Drigo, brought her daughter Violet, 7.

As their mother joked and reminisced, the two girls sat on the edge of the school’s softball field and had a conversation of their own.

“We brought our daughters in the hope they would both be able to go here one day,” Pale said, “and this is the closest they’re going to get.”