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Catholic School’s ‘Mission From God': Raise $400K In Two Weeks To Stay Open

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Our Lady of Victory School drew inspiration from the Blues Brothers and Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones in its effort to raise $400,000 in two weeks -- and $400,000 a year going forward -- to stay open. (Credit: Mike Krauser)

Our Lady of Victory School drew inspiration from the Blues Brothers and Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones in its effort to raise $400,000 in two weeks — and $400,000 a year going forward — to stay open. (Credit: Mike Krauser)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A Catholic elementary school in Portage Park is “on a mission from God,” hoping to make a miracle happen so it can avoid being shut down by the Archdiocese.

Established in 1910, Our Lady of Victory School, at 4434 N. Laramie Av., needs to raise $400,000 in two weeks, and then $400,000 a year going forward, if it’s to avoid closing.

Two signs now hang on an office window at the school:

“I have not yet begun to fight,” a quote from Revolutionary War hero Capt. John Paul Jones; and “I’m on a mission from God,” inspired by the Blues Brothers.

“That’s what we need. We really, we are on a mission, and we need a miracle, and we believe it can happen,” said Mary Beth Frystak, director of religious education at Our Lady of Victory. “We’re tough. We’re tough, and we’re not giving up. Hopefully we will have a miracle.”

The Archdiocese of Chicago has notified five elementary schools in the city and suburbs they are slated to close, including Our Lady of Victory. A sixth will be notified by week’s end, and more schools could be targeted for closing by the end of the month.

In Evergreen Park Friday night, parents attended a meeting and learned that St. Bernadette Catholic School is also scheduled for shutdown.

“My kids have started from the very beginning, and we’re very saddened about this, and we’ve got to go look for a new school,” parent Carl Talley said.

OLV Principal Jennifer Hodge said she’s not giving up on a school that saw enrollment nearly double from 91 to 165 students in less than two years.

“I am very optimistic. It could be a detriment, but it also could be a good thing,” she said. “But I have always been optimistic, and I’m really hopeful.”

She said the school is one big family. Alumni have been calling from all over the country, after hearing the school might close.

School officials hope alumni and the parish community will help them achieve their mission.

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