Community rallies in support of Everett school on verge of shutting down

EVERETT, MASS. (WHDH) - Faced with a $1.5 million shortfall, community members hoping to save Everett’s Pope John XXIII High School have turned to prayer as they work to raise the money to keep the institution open.

More than 200 community members gathered at the school’s auditorium Monday night at a rally aimed at garnering support.

“I feel like they’re going to find a way,” student Mehkai Collins said.

Sister Kristin Hokanson, who served as the school’s principal for 10 years, agreed.

“I personally feel that it’s possible,” she said. “I think that the outreach that’s particularly been done on social media has been outstanding, and I think there’s a lot of hope for the school.”

Cheryl Ford, a 1984 graduate, said, “Catholic education is so important. There are so many anti-Catholics out there. To see something like this shut down would be devastating.”

State Rep. Joe McGonagle, a 1977 graduate, says he will call on the attorney general to investigate International Residence Management, the organization whose bankruptcy prompted the budget shortfall.

“I think she needs to investigate this company,” he said. “That’s definite. And I hope that she does.”

The school has been open for 50 years. The $1.5 million must be raised by May 23.

“I’m pretty confident we can do it,” Interim Headmaster Carl DiMaiti said. “I’ve spoken with alums that have the capacity to step in, and I think they’re about to step forward. I think everybody’s going to be pleasantly surprised when they do.”

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