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Education

Holy Angels Academy parents make a plea to the board to keep the school open

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WBFO News file photo
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Some parents of students at Holy Angels Academy in North Buffalo are fighting the planned closing of the school.  Monday night, a group of parents met with the Board of Trustees for a financial explanation.  

Parents say they want a chance to work with the board to see if the all-girls, catholic high school can be saved. 

Daniel Ward of Tonawanda is the parent of a freshman. Ward tells WBFO News he believes the board might be willing to examine their idea.

“We received a reasonable summary of the financials relating to the board’s deliberations and decision.  And we agreed with the Board of Trustees, we would convene a small committee, to work with the board to dig into the financial statement where we can constructively work together…and hopefully translate that into a short term and a long term opportunity to turn the school around, and there seems to be willingness on part of the board to work with us to do that, which is a great sign. And now it is time to take that next step and to see what our collective heads together," said Ward.

Last week the board of trustees announced that it would shut down the school at the end of this academic year in June.   The board cited several factors,  including low enrollment and financial issues.

Monday night's meeting for parents and alumnae only. Some parents were emotional, according to sources inside the meeting session. Ward said one parent left the meeting in a huff. 

The board then left the meeting Monday night to meet privately to discuss the parents’ proposal.  There is no word on what they decided.

“We have specifically asked the board to make a statement to a statement to media affirming that they are willing to  work with this organizing group to put a plan together and save the school, and we expect, what I believe occurred is the board went to meet in private session to discuss that, so I believe that is a good sign," said Ward.

Since that announcement there has been a ground swell of support from parents, students and alumnae.  The parents have formed saveholyangels.com

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Credit WBFO News file photo
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Inside the school a sign reads "Never underestimate a Holy Angels Girl", a theme for the Academy

Monday night a fundraising event was held at Fat Bob's Smokehouse  in downtown Buffalo for the school’s founders – the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart.

2007 graduate Emily Marciniak organized Monday night's fundraiser. Marciniak announced on her Facebook page that they raised $6,225 for the sisters.

"To all my angels and our extended family: THANK YOU! We raised $6,225 to give back to the Grey Nuns tonight!! Couldn't have done it without all my girls (and boys- Madia bros) who stepped up to help, and all of you 240+ people who came out to Fat Bob's!!! What a success!," said Marciniak.

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Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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Holy Angels Academy

The nuns gave a $1 million line of credit from its retirement fund to help with finances at the school, a loan the school says it cannot repay. Those attending last night’s event paid $25 a ticket to go directly to the order. 

The school held five parent meetings last week. Some parents are working to find a new school for their daughters. But others say they are waiting until they hear back from the HAA board.

Ward says his daughter was "devastated" by the school's announcement. Ward said he's not enrolling her in another school until he hears from the board regarding the parents request. 

Ward says many students are relying on parents and alumnae to help keep the school open.

"They're hurt, they feel betrayed," said Ward
 

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