St. Mary's Academy will be open next school year.

And, officials hope, many years to come.

This week, the parochial school reached — then passed — its fundraising goal of $80,000.

The total now is $80,709, with more fundraisers — including Fun Day on Saturday — still to come.

Principal Marie Cordata Kelly, deeply appreciative of the efforts of school staff, families and the community at large, said the $80,000 will pay off debt owed by the school but that it's vital the fundraising continues.

"We do not want to get into this situation again," she said. "We would like to have a reserve."

Recent revenues include a net profit of $5,500.25 from an auction and $1,275 from a Texas Hold'em event.

ENROLLMENT OPEN

Health insurance and a decrease in tuition revenue are among the issues that created the crisis that, in February, seemed to spell doom for the preschool-through-grade-six school.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg told St. Mary's Parish its school would be slated for closure should the debt go unpaid past June 1. Parents of students met shortly afterwards to mount an effort to save the school and planned numerous events.

The academy provides numerous jobs and provides a site for events including basketball tournaments and exercise classes.

Most of all, Cordata Kelly said, "it's a home for our children ... gospel values that cannot be taught in a public school and have to be instilled in the heart."

There's no bullying at St. Mary's, she said, which welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.

The school offers Universal Pre-K, preschool for 3-year-olds and follows the same calendar as the Northeastern Clinton Central School District. Scholarships are available, Cordata Kelly said, and no child is turned away because of inability to pay. Enrollment is open now for next school year.

Cordata Kelly encourages families to come visit, to drop off children for a time to experience what the school is all about first-hand.

There were doubts when the fundraising campaign was launched, she said. But it's clear now.

"God wants our school open."

Email Suzanne Moore at: smoore@pressrepublican.com

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