Bayonne’s Marist High School makes last ditch effort to stay open

Marist High School in Bayonne is slated to  be closed. Marist High School in Bayonne is slated to be closed.
BAYONNE -

Students, parents and faculty at a Bayonne high school are fighting to keep the school open.

Marist High School has been slated for closure and the people associated with the school have been raising money over the last month to make sure that doesn’t happen. This includes a major event held Friday night.

The event at the school was part fundraiser, part club night and part concert, but one effort to keep the school open. Fundraising efforts so far have raised well over $300,000, but the stated goal is $1.5 million.

“I knew right away I had to do something and use my talents outside of the education world and bring in an awesome experience,” says Crystal Vargas, who helped organize the event.

Vargas is a former student, former teacher and current coach at Marist High School. She is among 6,000 recent graduates. School officials say that even if all of them donated a small amount, it would add up to a lot.

“The school is very special to me. It's a major part of who I am as a person,” Vargas says.

The head of the Catholic school says that there have been several reasons why the school is in trouble financially. Alice Miesnik blames increased costs, decreased enrollment, no government support by law, and the loss of free labor from nuns and priests.

“It’s the nature of religious life in the U.S. that's caused the decrease of free labor, which has raised the cost of tuition you have to pay,” Miesnik says.

Marist is one of several New Jersey Catholic schools that is in danger of closing. St. Anthony’s in Jersey City just announced it will close its doors at the end of the school year.

The school has until the end of Monday to keep raising money. That is when they will hear their fate from the Marist Brothers Organization, who run the school.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Marist Brothers for comment, but did not hear back.

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