By Cleve Bryan


CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – The last graduates to complete their schooling at “Castle on the Hill” received their diplomas on Tuesday.

The Class of 2017 is that last at the 100-year-old high school building after the state announced plans last fall to spend $133 million to replace it.

“We’re the last class to walk down those stairs with the original Camden High School so it was something special today,” says graduate Ashonti Ferrell.

Court Battles Leave New Jersey Residents Surprised At Shabby Look Of Their Statehouse

While some fought to preserve the historic building principal Scott Shanklin, a 1989 graduate, thinks Camden kids deserve state-of-the-art media, classroom, exercise and performing arts facilities.

“It’s an ending and a beginning- ending of an historic time at Camden High School but it’s opening for a new beginning with a new high school coming,” said Shanklin after graduation on the football field.

Valedictorian Has Microphone Cut Off During Graduation Speech After Criticizing School Administration

Demolition is expected this summer and construction on the new high school in the fall. It is expected to open in September 2021.

Meanwhile, starting in fall 2017, Camden High School students in grades 9-12 will attend school less than half a mile down the road at the Cooper B. Hatch building located at 1875 Park Blvd.