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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “Ask and it shall be given you” is a bible quote no doubt the children at Saint Raphael School have heard in their religious studies. Those words certainly rang true when the school’s future was in jeopardy.
Eight-year-old Ava Reiser made a sign that sits on the door to Saint Raphael School asking people to help keep her school open. After a grassroots effort from parents and alumni, the students were given the news they had been praying for.
“When the teacher told a few of my classmates and me, we started crying and stuff because we were happy,” said Reiser.
Parents like Ava’s mom, Chalsie Reiser, were even more grateful.
“It definitely was unexpected. We all prayed and hoped, and when we got the news. We were relieved,” said Chalsie Reiser.
Parents received a letter letting them know the school would remain open during the 2019-20 school year. Not only was the goal of $125,000 met, it was exceeded by over $25,000. A portion came from an anonymous donor, who is also offering to help continue raising money with a $50,000 match to help the school stay open beyond the next school year.
For parents like Jen Marasco, who is also an alumna, it was heartwarming to see the generosity to save what has become a beloved place for so many.
“We didn’t just get donations from this community. It was all over – the whole city. We had people from Butler. We had people from all over that believe in Catholic education and wanted to help,” said Marasco.
Her daughter Savannah, like Ava, feels like their prayers were answered.
“I’m happy that the school is staying open and to be with my friends more,” said Savannah Marasco.
More fundraising still needs to be done, but things are certainly looking brighter for Saint Raphael School.
KDKA reached out to the Diocese of Pittsburgh for comment and have not heard back. Sources are telling KDKA that an announcement should be coming after Sunday’s Mass.