Vigil Held for Assumption School in Peekskill

A group of parents, students and staff members held a candlelight vigil at the Assumption School Friday. The vigil was held because the school is at risk of closing at the end of the year.

Parents at the Our Lady of the Assumption School in Peekskill are hoping for a miracle.

“I don’t know, but for some reason, I think we’ll stay open,” Ramon Fernandez, a parent at the school, said Friday night. “I’m praying that it will stay open. We know it's a tough economy, but we're hoping for a miracle. We want to keep the old traditions going.”

A group of students, parents and staff members gathered in front the school Friday for a vigil in hopes of keeping the school open. 

Peekskill school officials have stated that they believe the school, which has 200 students, is likely closing. The school is one of 26 schools out of 129 Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of New York that were announced in November as being on a list of schools at risk of closing June 2013.

The Archdiocese is expected to make its decision at the end of the month.

“We’re still praying for Assumption School,” Father Michael Higgins, of the Church of the Assumption, said in an email. “I’m still of the school that says no news is good news.”

Beatriz Herrera, a parent at the school district, said the news has weighed on the minds of everybody at the school, including the children.

“Some of the children have offered to give their own money,” Herrera said. “Some have said that they’d give their piggy banks. They've been wonderful. They ask what they can because we need help to keep the school going.”

Joey Mitchell, a 7-year-old student, remains hopeful the school will stay open.

“I like school and all the stuff that I study and all the stuff that I learn,” Mitchell said. "I don't want the school to close."

Dutch January 19, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Perhaps the tuition needs to be increased to help cover the costs. You cannot expect the parish to fill in all the gaps. If you want you child to be there then you need to be willing to pay the extra amount. I do believe in a Catholic education ..I atttended a Catholic elementary school. My father work an additonal job to send my siblings and I there.
Liz Claire January 20, 2013 at 07:42 AM
My best hope is that the Archdiocese starts acting like Christ and not a heartless corporation. The school should continue to carry out the Gospel. Don't tell me the pensions of priests are denying needy kids of a Catholic education. That is the issue I think.
elizabeth January 20, 2013 at 03:03 PM
the problem is giving out to much free tuition and extra masses for the nonenglish speaking parisioners who do not contribute
George in NY January 20, 2013 at 03:15 PM
I think the problem is more the money in lawsuits through the years is far more the cause. Bridgeport Priests alone cost Church enough to fund the school I would bet. It would sad to see it close. My wife graduated from Assumption and we were married in Assumption. We used to contribute but I stopped few years back due to the whole Catholic situation of failing to safeguard children and covering up etc.
sayitsnotsojack January 20, 2013 at 04:05 PM
If the school does close the parents of these children are in for a huge shock if their children attend the Peekskill schools, then they will really understand what quality of education they had and will never have again.
peekskillman January 20, 2013 at 04:10 PM
elizabeth- bingo! you got the main answer. For too many years, this has been going on, and now it is too late. I feel for those who have paid out of their own pockets, and truly want their children to receive the parochial education. Once again, the hands are out of those who want everything for free. Seems to be the way of the world anymore, not just specific to the school
Kathleen Kourie January 20, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Jesus would be appalled at today's Catholic Church. The land wealth, the Pope wearing Prada, pedophile priests to name a few. Suffer the little children to come unto me...the children matter most, stop closing their schools.
Ray Adamick January 20, 2013 at 04:31 PM
joshua tanner January 20, 2013 at 06:19 PM
People need to pay their bills. There is a huge section of Peekskill for which America exists to provide them with a handout. Oh and when the Pope and Church urged this crowd to vote against being forced to provide abortions they voted for the handout anyway and told the Pope to take a hike. They AGREED with the Pope and thats a reason they use the school. But they voted for gov cheese anyway.
upsetwithpeekskill January 21, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Dutch, you are 100% correct. I went to Catholic School for grade and high school (as did my siblings), and my parents struggled with the cost - BUT they did it, and paid the full tuition. As with your Dad, mine also worked OT and second jobs. Mom worked at night. They NEVER would have accepted a handout. This expense on top of putting the requested amount in the Sunday collection plate each week. After looking at the pictures from this vigil, I'm wondering where the middle-class children are. No, not ALL are in public school. I know plenty of families from Peekskill sending their children to Catholic/private school. BUT, they are sent to St Columbanus, or Seton, or St Augustine - and ARE PAYING FULL tuition. The population sending their children to Assumption are doing so because they are getting a break on their tuition, plain and simple. They do it for the handout. Perhaps that is why they can't raise the funds necessary to keep the school afloat. They have no real regard for a Catholic education, only one where they can get something for free. What the Catholic Church needs to do is teach this population that in order to succeed in the U.S. you need an education - not the latest electronic gadget, or flashy new car.
Katie Schmidt Feder January 21, 2013 at 04:28 AM
I would find it sad if they closed a school that is helping so many - yes - even/especially those who aren't paying full tuition. Jesus would be most proud of this part of the mission of the Catholic Church. And for those of you whose ancestors were also immigrants to this country - I hope you keep in mind what it was like for them when they were new to this country. My children attend the Peekskill Public schools and although they are not perfect - they have had excellent teachers and wonderful principals. I have volunteered and worked in the schools and - although their may be some kids with behavior issues - all in all they are wonderful children. My children are in the dual language program and my daughter in particular is thriving! So - sayitsnotsoJack - knows not of what he speaks. I was raised Catholic and my siblings all attended Catholic schools - so I honor any one who makes that choice. I happen to feel strongly in support of public schools - but in the end - every parent does what is best for their child - even it that means leaving everything you know to move to a country far from home and face the challenge of a new language and country. May we ALL in Peekskill focus on that one common thread - that we love our children and we want the best for them. And may we open our hearts in the same way to others' children as well - and if their hands are open . . they will know we are Christians by our love. Hoping the best for Assumption.
RAFH January 21, 2013 at 05:55 AM
For elizabeth, dutch, upsetwithpeekskill, and peekskillman: Since the school was opened till 1963, tuition for Assumption was totally free for everyone. Elizabeth just remember what Jesus said about the widow, that only gave 2 penies . Thats all she had. Immigrants struggle a lot . Also Jesus didnt speak English. He spoke Aramaean. He was also once an immigrant himself in Egypt. Gandhi once said he would've becomed Christian if it wasn't for the way Christian act upon each other . A lot of people would be Catholics, but looking at the way you guys express towards a group of also CATHOLICS , it is very hard for them to get closer to the Catholic faith.
peekskillman January 21, 2013 at 11:23 AM
RAFH and Ms Feder there is a doctrine of 'separation of church and state" in this country. One cannot dismiss the laws of our land in the name of religion. Pls do not confuse the issue of wanting to do what is best for one's children with the fact that many ARE here illegally, and still others are taking money ie tuition while riding around in expensive SUVs, etc. As to your statement that Assumption tuition "was totally free", I believe that you are grossly mistaken,sir, as in my lifetime I have known many who have sent their children there, all the while paying for the tuition. Point of fact is that there are many people that have taken their children out of this school due to what is going on inside it's walls with the issues going on now.


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