Another Grade 12 class is preparing to graduate Dalhousie Regional High School and a majority of the students are leaving the northern community, according to the school’s principal.

Over the past six years the community has lost all of its major employers, including the Abitibi-Bowater milltwo chemical plants and NB Power’s Dalhousie Generating Station.

Janet Cooper, the principal of Dalhousie Regional High School, said classes are shrinking in the school and nearly all of the students who do graduate leave the area.

"Probably at least 75 per cent of our students go off to some post-secondary education and part of that is because there are no jobs around here for them," Cooper said.

"We don't have a big shopping mall that students can go and work at if they want to take a year off before they go off to school. So they leave Dalhousie Regional High School and they need to go somewhere in September and that is always, usually, far away from this community."

Cooper said about 55 students will graduate from Dalhousie High next month, which is about half of what it was when she began teaching at the school.

The unemployment rate in northern New Brunswick was 20.2 per cent in March, according to Statistics Canada.

Dalhousie’s population dropped by 4.5 per cent in the 2011 census and now has a population of 3,512. Dalhousie’s population dropped 6.7 per cent in the 2006 census and 11.7 per cent in 2001.