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St. Mary's Academy open house aims to increase enrollment

CHAMPLAIN - After a dip in enrollment for the 2009-10 school year, St. Mary's Academy has decided to open its doors next week to show the unique educational environment they have to offer.

The school will be open half a day Thursday, March 11, closed Friday, March 12, following the schedule of Northeastern Clinton Central School. However, St. Mary's principal Sister Marie Cordata Kelly said the school will remain open both days to allow NCCS students in pre-K through sixth grade to come and see the way the school is run.

"We're going to have 'pseudo' classes," Cordata said. "They'll be classes to give a taste of our education, but it'll also be fun."

Students do not have to stay the entire two days, but can come and go as they please. Parents are also welcome to visit the school.

"We believe that if people, especially the kids, see the school and they experience the school, they want to come to the school," said Father James Delbel, pastor of St. Mary's. "It's a nice atmosphere. It's relaxed, happy."

Delbel said he isn't against what public schools have to offer, yet is aware of some kids who have fallen through the cracks.

"They just need that little special care that we can give to them," he said. "We'd like to sort of encourage them to take a look at us and maybe, if possible, to come next year."

Lisa DeLong, who has two children who attend St. Mary's, said it took just one day for her to be impressed by the school.

"The first day I was there, like three or four teachers knew my children's names," she said. "As we left, they said 'Goodbye.' That impressed me so much because why should a fourth grade teacher know my first-grader? I had never experienced that."

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