Catholic School Rallies, Reopens After Threats of Closure

The school reopened Tuesday for the first day of school

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    NEWSLETTERS

    8/19/2014: Chicago's Our Lady of Victory school had been told to raise $400,000 or it would be closed down. In just six months, the school raised over a million dollars and was able to reopen Tuesday on the first day of school. Trina Orlando reports. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    The first day of school at Our Lady of Victory school in Chicago's Jefferson Park was a day many feared wouldn't come after threats of closures plagued many Catholic schools in the city this year.

    In January, the school faced an uncertain future as it was among six schools the Archdiocese of Chicago slated to close. Enrollment was down and the diocese could no longer suppliment the school's expenses.

    The school was told to raise nearly $400,000 or close its doors for good.

    "It was very upsetting," said school parent Trisha Correa.

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    But the community and parents rallied, responding the challenge with an outpouring of support.

    "It's part of the community. It's the bedrock of the community," said parent Michelle Baert.

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    People donated, local businesses held fundraisers, and an anonymous donor even gave an $80,000 gift as the school managed to raise a million dollars to keep its doors open.

    "You should just never give up," said Director of Religious Education Mary Beth Frysak. "If you give up you're giving in and we couldn't do that."

    Officials said enrollment at the school is also on the rise with this year's class up 30 students from last year.

    "It truly means there are miracles," said Baert. "We needed a miracle and that happened."

    And the efforts aren't over yet. The school will continue fundraising throughout the year. The next event will be held Sept. 28 as the school hosts a comedy show and dinner. Tickets will be sold for $50 and can be purchased at the school's website.