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Holy Angels Academy Reaffirms Decision to Close

11:41 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY-- Efforts to try and keep Holy Angels Academy open were unsuccessful.

The Holy Angels Board of Trustees and The Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart said that despite the "considerable effort and enthusiasm" to try and find a solution, the all-girls private school will be closing at the end of the year as announced two weeks ago.

The Catholic school has been educating girls in Western New York for more than 150 years.

A letter detailing Thursday's announcement has been sent to parents.

Annie Hoodmaker is a sophomore at Holy Angels Academy and won't get what she's always wanted - a diploma from the school, in front of all her friends and family.

"Coming from a family of Holy Angels girls, everyone who went there, I never looked at any other school," she said, "It's heartbreaking, I couldn't imagine getting a diploma anywhere else two years ago, so it's going to be tough going through this, but I'm going to stay happy that my sister was able to finish out."

Her sister will graduate with about 50 seniors Sunday. But, remaining students are now faced with tough decisions. Juniors are being given options to try to graduate early.

They include, summer school, online courses, home schooling and finally, an option through UB, all of which will have a cost. Girls in lower grades have to find new schools.

"Obviously there was anger, there was resentment, a lot of sadness," said Mike Hoodmaker, who's Annie's dad and a member of a committee that over the past month was looking for donors to keep Holy Angels alive. The plan was to raise $2.5 million by mid-June. But mainly verbal pledges were received - not enough to boost optimism that Holy Angels had a future.

"We gave it our best shot, so we can hold our heads up high knowing that we did try our best you know, there was just too much to overcome at one time," he said.

The Board of Trustees and The Grey Nuns say they didn't want to make this decision, but had to. There were too many obstacles and that boosting enrollment was the biggest problem. Also lingering issues included, cost savings and funding for education.

"We didn't feel there were enough specifics or enough assurances in the proposal that we could in good conscious give the girls hope and perhaps it might work or it might not work, it did not give us what we needed," said Maureen Maguire, a member of HAA's Board of Trustees.

The financial aid for girls who are transferring to another Catholic school will still be honored for one year at that new school.

This is all being paid for by The Grey Nuns. Holy Angels says that alumnae have discussed possibly fund raising money to reimburse The Grey Nuns for all the money it's lent to Holy Angels.

No word on what will happen to the Holy Angels building and property yet.

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