When Music Academia of Rockhampton, the flagship of the music academy that once boasted an alumni population of over 2,000 students, announced it would be closing its doors on December 20, the academy’s alumni and faculty members gathered at a makeshift conference room at the school’s campus.
Students and faculty shared stories of their time at the academy, which was founded in 1998 by the late John DeSantis, a founding member of The New York City-based rock band the Ramones.
In a letter sent to the Rockhamptons community, DeSantes said that the academy had “collapsed into a shadow of its former self” and that he would no longer continue to be involved with it.
“This has been my greatest mistake and I will never do it again,” he wrote.
The letter went on to state that DeSants “did not live up to his promise to students, parents, and staff that this organization would become a place where people can feel safe and free to learn.”
The letter also revealed that the Rockhallers “failed to invest in an active campus-wide response” after the shooting.
As students, faculty, and parents gathered at the Rockingham Music Academy’s campus to discuss what had happened, they shared their own stories of the academy.
One of the students who attended the conference was a senior majoring in psychology at the University of Michigan, and she spoke with Breitbart News about what it’s like to work for a college that is “in turmoil and has seen students and faculty leave, many for personal reasons.”
“This is not a place that I could ever recommend to a student,” she said.
“I’m going to be a good professor, but I’m not going to sit in class all day.
I have to be in class.
I don’t have to go to work.
I need to go home and take care of my daughter.
I’m scared of what’s going to happen to me.” “
People are scared to go anywhere and go to a place like this.
I’m scared of what’s going to happen to me.”
Another student told Breitbart News that she felt like “an adult in a room with children and a teacher who’s also an adult.”
She said that she left Rockhamps because she “felt like a failure” at the college, which she said “didn’t give her the opportunity to succeed in life.”
The former student told the reporter that her former professor and the academy leadership have “left the building and gone to work in other places,” including at a local pharmaceutical company.
“It’s really sad to be honest,” she told Breitbart.
“They left me here, and they left me a shell of what I wanted.
I wanted to be here, I wanted the best, I want to be respected.”
Another former student, who has not yet spoken to Breitbart News, told the outlet that the Academy’s leadership has not been responsive to students’ concerns about the closure.
“We’ve been told to get our act together,” she stated.
“The Academy was a place to get away from the pain and the trauma of life.
They’re leaving us here.”
Another graduate student, however, told Breitbart that he felt that his former professor “loved the kids.”
“It was a really supportive and loving place,” he stated.
The former graduate student said that his professor was a “tremendous motivator,” and he said that he is still “strongly committed” to the academy despite the loss of his mentor.
“There’s a lot of people who left and a lot who didn’t leave,” he told Breitbart, adding that his current mentor was “still a part of the Academy and still doing what he does.”
DeSantons son, John De Santis Jr., also took to Twitter to address the loss, writing that “it is with great sadness that we announce that Music Academy Rockingham has closed its doors due to the tragic loss of its alumni.”
De Santisses son also tweeted that he had recently been offered a position at the local music academy.
“Its sad to see our family fall so low,” he said.
He went on, “We will not give up hope and will never give up the mission of helping to ensure that Rockhampons music students have a voice and a voice in the world.
The Academy will always be here and will always have a place for us to come to.”
De Santisses grandson also spoke about his father’s legacy, writing on Twitter that he was proud of his grandfather and his legacy of providing a safe haven for those who were oppressed.
“He was an incredible leader,” he shared.
“Music Academy Rockhamply, as a whole, has been a huge part of my life.
Its a loss that I dont feel is going to affect me.
It isnt a loss to Rockhampo.
Its just sad.
Its sad to lose a great