CV NEWS FEED // A diocesan Catholic school is fighting to beat a deadline granted by the Archdiocese of New Orleans to raise $500,000 by February or face closure after more than forty years of schooling.
Ascension of Our Lord Catholic School (AOL) is a Pre-K through seventh-grade scholastic program located in LaPlace, Louisiana. Founded in 1980, AOL offers an education for students using elements of “reason, religion, and kindness in a faith-filled, academically rigorous environment,” according to local news outlet L’Observateur.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans in October announced that at the end of the 2023-24 school year, AOL would be closing due to “lower enrollment trends, financial burdens, and changing demographics.”
However, L’Observateur reported on December 6 that the archdiocese recently granted AOL a chance to stay open, if it can raise $500,000 by February 29, 2024.
In response to the opportunity, AOL planned out fundraising events for the next three months in hopes to meet the goal.
Throughout the day on December 2, AOL hosted a Christmas Pop-Up Shop featuring vendors, as well as a Breakfast with Santa. AOL has also organized fundraising opportunities with local businesses, such as Raising Cane’s, Johnny’s Pizza House and Double Good Popcorn.
The AOL fundraising board met on November 27 discussing other ideas for January and February.
“There was talk about a gala with a silent auction,” said AOL Principal Addie Melancon to L’Observateur. “This is a great time that we will include our Crusader alumni. Other ideas will be popping up as well.”
“I think something really special about Ascension of Our Lord Catholic School is that it’s truly a family,” said 2015 AOL alumna Maggie Morton to L’Observateur. “The faculty and staff there have always been so encouraging and so loving. They made me feel like I was a part of their own family.”
AOL middle school teacher and counselor Christine Escobar shared with L’Observateur that when she was diagnosed with cancer six years ago,
students and faculty began praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet each Friday for her. Escobar said this experience allowed her to realize that AOL truly is a special, powerful community.
“This school is like a family, and it’s been my family for the past ten years,” Escobar said. “I can’t wait to see what great things that this school continues to do.”
Members of the tight-knit AOL community say they are determined to save their school and believe they are preserving not just a scholastic program, but also a leader in Catholic education in the River Parishes.