CRAFTON (KDKA) – Hundreds marched through Crafton to show their support for St. Philip School on Sunday.
The fight to keep the 106-year-old Catholic school open continues after the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced it is closing the school and merging it with another.READ MORE: St. Patrick's Day Parade In Pittsburgh Sees Smaller Crowd For Celebrations In September
Nearly 300 people came together Sunday night to try to save St. Philip School.
“This has been around for 106 years so to take it away from the families, I think, is a real upsetting void,” said Alexis Barone-Katze with the Committee to Save St. Philip School.
Parents, students, alumni, parishioners, and community members prayed and walked through town on the “Sprit Walk route.”
“St. Philip is the neighborhood jewel. I think what the school is to so many people is so important to me. It made me who I am today,” said Corinne McDevitt, who is a former St. Philip student.
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced in February the historic elementary school will close and merge with St. Margaret of Scotland in Green Tree. They will use the St. Margaret campus.
Watch as KDKA’s Chris Hoffman reports:
“I felt really sad because I’ve been here my whole life and so have all my siblings and I just really wanted to finish at St. Philip,” said Cooper Anselm, a 7th grader at St. Philip School.
A kindergarten told us how he feels about the school possibly closing, “A little bit sad and scared.”READ MORE: Male Suspect In Custody After 3 People Shot At Baby Shower At Kinloch Volunteer Fire Department
Another young student said, “I’m hoping they’ll be able to save it.”
Several parents formed a committee. Alumni and parishioners are also part of the group. They appealed the closure and started a petition. They have over 2,600 online signatures and 600 in-person mandate signings. They have received so much support from the community and beyond.
“I think it shows how strong our community it is. So many people were more than willing to come and support it,” said Maddie Hoff, a former student.
“It’s the center of the community of Crafton. Everything is built around here. People move here and want to know what the public school is and what the Catholic school is. To not have a Catholic school is a huge loss to the area,” said Peggy Wrabley, she started the preschool program at St. Philip School.
Barone-Katze said they are not giving up on their neighborhood jewel.
“This is our parish, this is our home, this is our school. We’re going to fight to the end for that,” Barone-Katze
Barone-Katze said Bishop David Zubik has 30 days to respond to the appeal, which was filed at the end of February. She said they asked to meet with the Bishop, the school’s pastor, and the diocese but they have not received a response.
KDKA reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh on Sunday. They said, “At this time we nothing to add to our previous comments on the matter.”
The original announcement last month said the decision to merge schools was made in an effort to strengthen catholic schooling in the South region of the diocese.
The diocese also announced St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin in Whitehall will merge with St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills.MORE NEWS: Allegheny Co. Police Investigating After Woman Found With Gunshot Wound In City Of Duquesne
Students will use the St. Gabriel campus.