by Nora Muchanic
Founded in 1858 as the first Catholic school in south Jersey, St. Mary's has become another victim to mounting debt and declining enrollment. It's a blow to families who consider it a treasure in the community.
"If we had been given more time maybe we could have prepared, raised more money, helped any way we can," said parent Kelly Devereaux.
Supporters are determined. They're leafleting door to door, planning fundraisers, soliciting donations and have started a Facebook page to keep everyone informed.
"We're all trying. We're raising money, we're handing out fliers, we're doing everything we can," said student Kelsey Collarin.
"I'd like to have been given information as to what we need to do to keep the school open, not just simply shut down, forget it, game over," said Chuck Wigginton of St. Mary's school board.
A spokesman for the Diocese says the school was warned it was in danger three years ago - and that it's unlikely St. Mary's will be kept open regardless of how much money is raised.
"Add up the numbers of students and the tuition and figure it in terms of paying and maintaining a school and paying the staff," said Father Peter Feuerherd of the Camden Diocese. "It's just that in the long term, numbers ...
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