OLV School opens after funds raised

Our Lady of Victory School, 4434 N. Laramie Ave., has raised more than $900,000 in its effort to remain open for the 2014-15 school year.

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced plans in January to close the school and five other schools in June due to their debt of approximately $10 million. The archdiocese told Our Lady of Victory Parish that it had to demonstrate that it could raise $400,000 in each of the next 3 years to remain open.

School principal Jennifer Hodge has said that continuing to increase enrollment and raise funds is crucial to keep the school open. Hodge said that the school’s enrollment is approximately 190 students, up from 171 students in January.

Hodge’s initial goal was to have an enrollment of 175 students for this school year, and she said that the goal is to have 200 students next year. She said that a self-sustaining school typically enrolls about 200 to 250 students.

The school recently opened a second kindergarten classroom for the first time in more than a decade.

Upcoming fund-raising events include a bean bag toss tournament, a dinner on Sept. 28 that will feature comedian Tom Dreesen and radio disc jockey Dick Biondi and a "Victory Ball" that will be held in the spring.

Hodge said that the school also is holding a "Commit to the Flame" campaign, which allows residents to purchase $20 raffle tickets each month for 12 consecutive months. She said that seven winners will be drawn each month.

Hodge said that with the start of the school year everyone has a "new sense of energy and excitement."

Our Lady of Victory was one of six schools that the archdiocese tentatively ordered closed, including the Academy of Saint Benedict the African School, 6020 S. Laflin St., Saint Florian School, 13110 S. Baltimore Ave., Saint Christopher School in Midlothian, Saint Bernadette School in Evergreen Park and Santa Maria del Popolo School in Mundelein.

Saint Benedict, Saint Florian and Saint Christopher remain open, while Saint Bernadette and Santa Maria have closed.