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CHICAGO (CBS) — He may be in prison now, but to some students on the North Side, Rod Blagojevich is a good guy.
At his farewell news conference earlier this week, the former governor spoke about St. Scholastica Academy, his daughter’s school, which is now slated to close.
Blagojevich asked donors to come to the rescue. As CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman learned, that meant a lot to young women who hope to keep the doors open.
The students this week learned their school will close in June, after more than a century.
“I’m devastated right now,” one senior said Thursday.
At least she gets to graduate. The underclassmen don’t even want to think about finding a new high school home. They love the all-girl one they have.
Blagojevich called the impending closure bad news when he spoke with media Wednesday.
“We hope that if there’s anybody out there who cares about that beautiful little Catholic girl’s school, St. Scholastica, and they want to help keep that school open, if you can open their heart,” he said.
Students and parents are appreciative.
“Rod put it on the front page, and I say more power to him,” parent Mike Cahill said. “He did absolutely the right thing by the girls here.”
His daughter is a junior. He and his wife were on campus with signs saying “Do not betray our girls” and “keep your word.”
The Cahills showed a November letter from the Benedictine sisters who run the school, which says St. Scholastica won’t be closing in June.
But another letter that everyone got said St. Scholastica “will not close as long as it continues to be financially viable.”
The prioress tells CBS 2 it is not financially viable.
There’s a fundraiser in April, and the prioress says some donations did come in after Blagojevich’s remarks.
But she also said it’s going to take more than money. There are enrollment issues, too. And she thinks someone outside the Benedictine sisters will need to sponsor the school.
The order can’t keep it going, a reality she says breaks her heart.