Recently, I told you about Heart of Mary school in Mobile, Alabama. This school had stood on the frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement and was fighting to stay open, turning to the community for help.

Catholic schools across the country are in similar situations, as the old financial model faces historic strain after the pandemic. 

Especially in states with robust school choice, things are turning in the right direction, but fundamental challenges remain.

Click here to let us know you want to advocate for the solution to these challenges.

Too many parents simply cannot afford the education their children need, and too many schools take on regular financial losses as they work to serve everyone anyway.

For Heart of Mary, though, there is good news. The Root reports:

Heart of Mary Catholic School was facing the same budget challenges that many parochial schools around the country are grappling with. And the school faced the possibility of closing at the end of the 2022 school year. That is until an online fundraising campaign brought in more than $450,000 to help keep the doors open…

Heart of Mary Catholic School was established in 1901. During a time when Alabama’s constitution disenfranchised Black people, the school provided quality education for Black children. It also became a place of refuge and a critical meeting site for people of color. In the Civil Rights Era, many Heart of Mary nuns and priests worked side by side with civil rights advocates, participating in demonstrations throughout the community.

We are fighting for a world in which every school can stay open. As Heart of Mary’s experience shows, parochial schools are an integral part of the community, and their closure will have ripple effects for years to come.

In communities small and large, Catholic schools offer academic excellence, spiritual nourishment, a safe place for families in need, and a hub for efforts toward justice in the community. 

Even as we celebrate the news from Heart of Mary, we know that private fundraising alone cannot make up the gap for the countless schools across the country facing similar struggles.

School choice offers the solution. 

It lets families keep some of their tax dollars to use at the school of their choice. It allows schools like Heart of Mary across the country stay open.

If you haven’t yet, click here to let us know you want to become an advocate for school choice in your community.

Thank you for standing with students.

PS: Keep reading to hear a story about how school choice helped a Florida student attend a Catholic high school in Miami

I come from a large family. I am the youngest of four brothers and six sisters. I love my siblings, but I don’t want to be like them because most of them didn’t finish high school. They work long hours and are still barely getting by. I knew that to be different, I had to go to a good high school, then a good college, and get a good degree to live a good life. It is important to me that I get a high-quality education.

After my father passed away from cancer when I was 10, my family always seemed to struggle. But, when I was beginning middle school, we experienced some extreme hardships that forced my family to move from up North to Miami, FL. When we first moved here, I attended my district public school. I decided to change schools. To attend a safer and better middle school, I had to wake up extremely early to catch two buses and a train.

When I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my mother was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Some days were so bad that she couldn’t walk. She decided to move in with one of my older sisters up North for extra assistance.

I’ve always tried to stay focused on my goals and maintain a positive attitude. So, when I heard about Christopher Columbus High School, I knew I wanted to attend. I thought this school would be the best option for me and my future if I wanted to do something with my life. I had to find a way to stay in Miami and pay private school tuition. The school is Catholic and Marist. I am neither. I didn’t care about the religious differences; I maintained focused on getting a quality education.

Read Waquel’s full story: