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Mt. Assisi Students, Alum Rally on Facebook to Save the School

Current students and alumni aren't letting the school close without a fight—their fight. More than 2,000 fans overnight flocked to a Facebook page aimed at saving the school.

They won't give their school up without a fight. 

Students and alumni of Lemont's Mt. Assisi Academy have started a Facebook page, pleading with others to help save the school. Administrators announced Jan. 29 that the school will close in June. Creators of the page—which surged to 2,000 fans overnight—are urging fellow supporters to reach out to The Ellen Degeneres Show, which is currently looking for schools who "need a little help."

"It's not just closing a school. It's breaking about 200 teenage girls' hearts... our home away from home! This shouldn't be happening! #saveMAA," is one student's plea on the page.

Mt. Assisi announced Jan. 29 that it will shutter in June 2014, due to increased financial strain and declining enrollment, as cited in a statement on the school website. 

"We have taken a very close look at our ability to sustain the school’s mission with the recent and projected enrollment trends, the increasing deficit of the school, the impact of that debt on our religious community, and the smaller number of Sisters available for this ministry," the statement reads. 

The school has observed a steady decline in enrollment over the last seven years. The board met multiple times this month, in addition to meeting with students and families, before deciding last week to shutter the school. Enrollment currently sits at about 200 students.

But those 200 students love their school—and want to stay.

"Girls you can do this! Dont give up-time to think about a fundraiser get the faculty involved as well," wrote one supporter on the page. "WANT TO HELP YOU SAVE THIS SCHOOL AND KNOW YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THIS DECISION! DONT GIVE UP!"

Efforts to avoid the closure have been extensive. School staff organized multiple fundraisers, and new activities such as social media campaigns, Shadow Days, tournaments, revamped Open House procedures, concerts on the hill and fun-fests. Staff members and student ambassadors visited hundreds of schools, attended parish fairs, high school nights and other gatherings. Monies for scholarships were sought and distributed at a higher rate than ever before, according to the statement.

Despite the efforts, the school's recent placement tests drew lower attendance than hoped. While administrators aimed for 55 girls, just 44 sat for the test.

Students aren't balking in the face of the numbers. 

"All MAA alum: go buy a lottery ticket this weekend and say your prayers. We need a miracle!" 

Connect with "Save Mt. Assisi" on Facebook.


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