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Mt. Assisi Academy to Close in June

Despite increased recruitment and fundraising efforts, the all-girls Catholic high school in Lemont will cease operations this summer.

Mt. Assisi will close its doors in June 2014, due to increased financial strain and declining enrollment, as cited in a statement posted on the school's website at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29. Potential incoming freshmen and their families will be informed in a letter dated January 30.

"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.

"We have looked very closely at our ability to continue to deliver an excellent Catholic education. The economic realities facing everyone, including the Church, have forced us to consider what is possible given the resources we have at our disposal.

"...Our religious community has substantially subsidized the Academy for years and is unable to continue this level of giving. As enrollment has fallen, the reality that the smaller the pool of students, the more expensive the education per person becomes has fueled both our efforts to increase enrollment and our need to look carefully at the reality of our school situation. We have worked hard to increase enrollment and to seek other sources of revenue." 

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.

"We deeply regret the heartache that this causes and promise to support our current students and families in any way that is possible as they seek other educational settings and work through this closing and the transition that it calls for in their lives." 

Credits earned by current students can easily be transferred to other schools, according to a statement. The school will hold a meeting Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., at the school. A Mass and other activities will be planned to celebrate the school, before its closing.

See the website for more information, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Are you an alum? Share your thoughts and memories of the school in the Comments section.

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