CHAMPLAIN - St. Mary's Academy will remain open.
The pre-kindergarten through sixth grade parochial school overseen by St. Mary's Church was facing a challenge by its leadership to raise $80,000 by June 1. However, the school has met the challenge ahead of schedule, said principal Sister Marie Cordata Kelly.
"I wasn't sure we'd raise the $80,000," admitted Kelly, who was faced with the challenge in February. "It was so much. But, I asked people to pray for what God wanted for the school and this is apparently what he wanted. I'm just in awe."
Donations began to trickle in shortly after the challenge was raised and soon, the trickle became a steady flow, said Kelly. The steady flow was the helped by large outpourings of support in the form of larger donations in the amounts of $5,000, $9,000 and then $10,000.
"That's when I realized we were going to make it," said Kelly.
Reaching the goal in a little less than three months was nothing short of a miracle, said Kelly.
"I think only God could do that," she said. "God and a community that came forward to show how they feel about this school."
The school was in its dire financial situation after the church had a decline in enrollment, resulting in $50,000 worth of debt needing to be rolled over onto the school's 2010-11 budget. Now that the money has been raised, a contingency fund has been established to help the school stay out of similar financial situations in the future, said Kelly. However, the school is not out of the woods yet.
"We still need to increase our enrollment," said Kelly.
The number of students currently enrolled at the school is just more than a hundred, she said. In order to continue on the path of a healthy financial status, those numbers must increase by another 15 students for the 2011-12 school year.
The school, to that end, will host a series of open houses beginning next week.
"We want people to come in and see what we're all about," said Kelly, who touted the school's high standards for education and safe environment as reasons why parents should enroll their children at St. Mary's.
Open houses will be held 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 16; Tuesday, May 17; Thursday, May 19; and Friday, May 20. St. Mary's is located in the village of Champlain at 1129 State Route 9, but is best accessible from its Pine Street side.
For more information, call the school at 298-3372.
Fundraisers still planned this weekend
Save Our School fundraisers to benefit St. Mary's Academy are still in the works. The next is "Moonlight Bowling" planned for this Saturday, May 14, across the border at the Salle De Quilles Ren Inc., 437A St-Jacques, Napierville, Quebec. The event there will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. and cost $10. Shoe rentals will be included. A classic rock concert by "Hands of Fire" will be held there at 9:30 p.m.
For more information, call 581-0199.
The Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall, 47 Woods Falls Road, Altona, will host a Zumbathon this Sunday, May 15. The event will begin with registration at 1:15 p.m., with Zumba workouts to be held from 2 to 4 p.m.
The cost of admission will be $10 per adult, with children 12 and younger admitted free. Spectators are welcome. The event will also include 50/50 drawings, raffles and entertainment by Xtreme DJ Sound Service.
For more information about that event, call organizer Rebecca Boire-West at 493-7556 or e-mail NorthCountryZumba@gmail.com.