By Rob Spahr, NJ Advance Media for

MIDDLETOWN – The Mater Dei Prep community has been given an opportunity to save their school.

Father Jeff Kegley – the pastor of St. Mary Parish – announced in a letter to parents on Tuesday that due to a severe, multi-year financial deficit the coed Catholic high school would close in June at the end of its current school year due to low enrollment and a $1million budget shortfall.

The decision was immediately met with a movement – under the slogan #SaveTheSeraphs – by the schools students, faculty, alumni and others, to keep Mater Dei open.

On Wednesday morning, the students participated in a “dress down” fundraiser and held a roughly 90-minute sit-in in the school’s cafeteria to protest the closing.

Some members of the school community are planning to hold a meeting at 7 p.m. on Friday to discuss possible ways to save the school, while others are planning a Sunday morning rally in the school’s parking lot.

And an online crowdsourcing effort raised more than $10,000 in two days.

On Thursday afternoon, saying he was “encouraged by the tremendous outpouring of support from the school and parish community” to keep Mater Dei open, Kegley announced a two month extension for Mater Dei Prep to raise the funds it needs to stay open.


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