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Brooklyn Prep School Funds Way To Stay Open

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TWC News: Brooklyn Prep School Funds Way To Stay Open
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A Jesuit prep school that was in danger of closing has raised enough money to stay open, at least for now. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Teary-eyed parents, excited students and lots of stuffed animals gathered outside a Crown Heights middle school early Monday morning. It's an annual tradition - sending the kids off to the school's four-week summer camp in Connecticut. But this year it wasn't supposed to happen.

Brooklyn Jesuit Prep was doomed to be one of more than a dozen parochial schools in the city forced to close this summer for financial reasons. But the principal refused to accept the Board of Trustees' decision to close the school.

"Our students would have been in a lot of trouble," said Brooklyn Jesuit Prep Principal Brian Chap.

He says there aren't many other good middle school options, especially for last-minute transfers, like his students would have been. So, along with several supporters, he spun the school off from the Jesuit network that founded it and managed to raise about $400,000 in a matter of weeks.

"I think it really speaks to the important mission that we have and how we are serving the children of Brooklyn," Chap said.

That will get them through December. It costs about a million dollars a year to run the middle school, which is basically free to attend. About half the students are Catholic, almost all are from low-income families.

"Now we have to raise enough to keep going for the next 10 years," said Brooklyn Jesuit Prep Board President Patricia Gauvey.

A key part of the school is the month-long summer camp, where students have class six mornings a week and do activities, like learn to swim.

"It's a fun experience where you grow and mature. At the same time, it's not all about fun, it's about learning to, from your mistakes," said Shane Allen, a student.

"They can't wait for camp, that's like the icing on the cake," said Michelle Maynard, a parent.

While kids are in camp, administrators and parents will be back in Brooklyn trying to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars more that they need just to stay open next year alone.

"We do have a long road ahead of us," Chap noted.

But it's a road they're grateful to still be on.

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