Power of the Press Helps Catholic School Survive Deathknell

This just in: St. Laurentius Catholic School will stay open after all, the the delight of Fishtowners who fought valiantly and against great odds.

As my colleague Martha Woodall reports, Holy Trinity (in Morrisville) and St. Laurentius got the good news today.

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Supporters of St. Laurentius School march through their Fishtown neighborhood. Some say the archdiocese relied on outdated information in its decision to close the school.

In all, at least 21 parish schools and three high schools had appealed the commission's recommendations for closure, Woodall writes. The archdiocese is expected to announce Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's appeal decisions Friday.

I wrote a column about St. Laurentius' quest and had stayed in close contact with parent leader, AJ Thomson. On the phone, I'm struck by his grateful tone. Given the uneasy state of affairs at the Inquirer, he wants me, Woodall and photographer Larry Kesterson to know the role our coverage played in keeping a neighborhood treasure around for his daughters and, hopefully, their daughters.

"Without the Inquirer, we couldn't have galvanized our community. We couldn't have done this," Thomson insists. "Without legitimizing our story, people don't see it, don't feel it. Without quality coverage that looks at both sides of the issues, people in power will run roughshod over everyone."

(Thomson was speaking for my behalf, but I know he's also appreciative of the efforts of my colleagues at the Philadelphia Daily News. We're part of the same struggling family, only fair to give them a shout-out, too.)

-- Monica Yant Kinney

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