Grant ensures Claretian Our Lady of Guadalupe Elementary School stays open
Faced with serious financial problems recently, Our Lady of Guadalupe elementary school, run by the Claretians since 1947, has been assured of its immediate continuance by a generous grant made by Big Shoulders Fund, a group of voluntary lay donors that was formed by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.
Organized in 1986, Big Shoulders provides assistance to inner-city Catholic schools in need in the Chicago Archdiocese. Composed of prominent Chicago business, professional, and financial leaders, Big Shoulders made a grant of $200,000 to Our Lady of Guadalupe school, ensuring it remains open for at least the 2006-07 school year.
The school continues to seek monetary support and increased enrollment to ensure its future. Projects that need immediate attention include the renovation of the school’s gym, which is no longer usable by the students because of flooding, and exterior renovations including replacing the school’s damaged front doors.
Located on the northwest corner of 91st Street and Burley Avenue, the red brick building has served as a welcomed center of education for thousands of Mexican- American students as they came of age in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in South Chicago.
Many of the Spanish-speaking students progressed in learning English with the help of the school’s bilingual teachers.
Mary Therese Meyer, one of the teachers at Our Lady of Guadalupe school, was recently honored by the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce for her more than 17 years of making “a tremendous impact on the lives of all of the students she has taught.”
Students at Our Lady of Guadalupe Elementary School are primarily children of Mexican-American parents. More than 85 percent of the school’s students qualify for the reduced or free school lunch program based on standards set by the Federal government.
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Enrollment at Our Lady of Guadalupe School is projected at 180 students for the 2006-07 school year, about 100 fewer students than were enrolled 10 years ago. Continued fundraising is necessary to ensure that needed improvements and renovations are made to the building in order to attract additional students and keep the current students enrolled year after year.