BAYONNE – Last spring things didn’t look so good for the future of Marist High School.
The Marist Brothers announced they were no longer in a “financial position” to fund the Kennedy Boulevard high school and said it would close its doors at the end of the 2016-17 school year unless $1.5 million could be raised.
Students, family members, and the school community rallied to raise about $750,000 in about four weeks. Despite falling significantly short of its goal, the Marist Brothers agreed to remain open.
Now, nine months after the school seemed destined to close, the Marist Brothers have vowed to “do everything (they) can to keep Marist High School going.”
“We are grateful for all the hard work, financial contributions, and generous sacrifice of school leaders, alumni, staff, students and their families and friends who are involved in building a solid future for Marist,” Brother Patrick McNamara, USA Provincial, said in a school email on Tuesday.
Part of the group’s plan to keep the school financially secure is to begin exploring development plans for the large property. An appraisal has already been done, but details of potential plans were not immediately available.
One of the reasons for the newfound commitment to the school comes from its partnership with Hudson County Community College, which will give qualified students the chance to graduate high school with an associate’s degree. The program is expected to boost enrollment.
Marist Brother Steve Schlitte, chairman of the school board, called the announcement “exciting news.”
“Brother Patrick’s action will come as very welcome news to all who care about Marist,” Schlitte said. “The financial support in our recent campaign demonstrated the deep level of commitment by hundreds of alumni, friends, and community members who wanted to ensure that Marist High School continues to thrive and serve our community.”
The brothers’ decision is promising for the school at a time when Catholic high schools have been on a steady decline in recent years. Nearby St. Anthony and Queen of Peace high schools were tasked with similar fundraising goals before being forced to close.
Caitlin Mota may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @caitlin_mota. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.