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July 10, 2018

Maine Girls' Academy alums target $1M in crowdfunding campaign

Tim Greenway / Maine Girls' Academy
Tim Greenway / Maine Girls' Academy
A group trying to save the Maine Girls' Academy from closure is trying to raise $1 million through a crowdfunding campaign.

Determined to keep the Maine Girls' Academy from closing or at least to buy more time, alumnae of the Portland private school are seeking to raise $1 million through a crowdfunding campaign.

Alumna Cara Biddings, whose daughter also attended the Portland private school, told WGME television station that the GoFundMe effort is mainly meant to seek more time following a decision that came "out of the blue."

As of Tuesday morning, the campaign had already raised $10,390 from 113 donors.

"The world needs more schools like this and we can't afford to lose the only one in Maine," according to the GoFundMe page.

It also notes that girls who graduate from MGA enter science, technology, engineering and science fields at higher rates than those who attend co-ed high schools, and points to the school's 100% college acceptance rate.

There is also a #SaveMGA thread on Twitter, which includes pleas for help to Hillary Clinton, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Susan Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women, a Providence, R.I.-based management consulting firm that helps managers and executives think more deeply about the role that gender plays in the workplace.

Two alumnae of McAuley High School, a predecessor school to Maine Girls' Academy, shared their thoughts with Mainebiz on Monday.

"I was saddened that McAuley High School closed in 2016, and that now with the closing of Maine Girls' Academy there might be no other all-girls high school option in the state," said Martha Hall, who graduated in 1983.

And Katie LaStoria, of the class of 1987, said the closure would be a huge loss to the state.

"The education they've provided since the days of McAuley goes beyond academics, instilling self-confidence and the knowledge that nothing is out of reach to girls if they work hard," she added.

]Closure slated for July 15

Last week, MGA's board of trustees voted to close the school on July 15 amid lower enrollment and finances.

MGA is a college preparatory school for grades 7-12 with roots going back to the 19th Century.

To ease the transition for students unable to continue at Maine Girls' Academy, North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth has agreed to accept the current MGA students and recognize the Portland school's admission standards.

The Yarmouth school will also honor each student's current 2018-19 enrollment at MGA.

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