Catholic school students, parents, and teachers across the Philadelphia area, are waiting. Dozens of the 49 schools slated to close or consolidate have appealed to stay open. The Archdiocese is expected to announce Friday which ones prevailed. North Philadelphia’s Saint Malachy School calls itself a place where “small miracles” happen everyday. The school, which teaches nearly 200 Kindergarten through 8th graders, boasts of a 95 percent daily attendance rate, and more than 90 percent of its Kindergartners score at grade level or above in reading.Monsignor Kevin Lawrence said he is hopeful the school’s appeal will succeed.”St. Malachy’s serves a primarily African American non-Catholic community,” said Lawrence. “A small percentage of our students are actually Catholic. We’re really asking for St. Malachy to be considered under the designation of a mission school: a school that is in an urban setting serving an underserved community and population.”If St. Malachy closes, students would be sent to a Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary — about two and a half miles away.
St. Malachy’s students and administrators are not alone. At Catholic schools across the Philadelphia area there is hesitant optimism.
Elizabeth Stieber Rementer is a 1998 graduate of Saint Hubert Catholic High School for Girls, in Northeast Philadelphia, which has a deer mascot named Bambie. Rementer works as a writer in the Senate Democratic Communications Office in Harrisburg. “I believe that St. Hubert really did help shape me into the woman that I am today professionally and personally,” said Rementer. “Some of my closest friends are Bambies and I just have such fond memories from there. It’s really a special place.”Rementer said St. Hubert supporters have raised over $800,000 to try to pay off the school’s debt and help more students attend.