D'Iberville school needs community support to remain open

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS   (WLOX) -  Some young musicians at Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School in D'Iberville will play an instrumental role for their school this weekend.  They'll showcase their talents at the school's third annual Art Festival.  This year's fundraiser will be more crucial than ever.

"This area was hit very dramatically and we've had probably a 20 percent decrease in enrollment.  And with that enrollment, we're trying to get back up," said Principal Jane Sema.

Sema says many families in the D'Iberville-St. Martin area that have lost their homes in Katrina never came back.  In January, the parish even considered closing the 82-year-old school.  But many parents urged the pastor and the diocese to keep the doors open.

"I know Sacred Heart's been around a long time, just from what I've heard from staff and other parents.  I'd hate to see a tradition go down the drain because of lack of funding," said Kathy Villarreal, who has a fifth grader at Sacred Heart.

"They have said they would give us a year to see if we could increase the tuition and possibly get some support from the community financially to help it," said Sema.

To help save the school, the school recently launched a major financial campaign.  The campaign urges parishioners, alumni, and members of the community to make a pledge to support the school for the next three years -- with money, prayers, or both.

The goal is to raise $300,000 over the three-year period and boost the enrollment to about 100 students next year.  That should be enough to help the school get back on its feet.

"I have a lot of faith and it's our faith that's gotten us this far," Sema said.  "And with that, we know that we will survive.  We're leaning on God to lead us in the right direction."

The Art Festival will be held on the school grounds this Saturday, May 2nd, from 10 AM until 4 PM.  Sacred Heart is located off Lemoyne Boulevard in D'Iberville.

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