MOUNT GREENWOOD — A tardy thank-you note can be a bit of a let down, but students at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School were thrilled to receive such a note last week.
The thank-you card written by a student at Our Lady Academy in Bay St. Louis, Miss. arrived exactly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. The only all-girl Catholic high school in the state was devastated by the disaster on the Gulf Coast.
Mother McAuley students in 2005 reached out to Our Lady Academy to offer aid. The school first gathered for a presentation in the auditorium that highlighted the storm damage, said Teresa LeCompte, a theology teacher at the school at 3737 W. 99th St. in Mount Greenwood.
Initially, the Mighty Macs held a fundraiser and donated the proceeds to the Mississippi school. Later, a school supply drive was held, said LeCompte, who has been a teacher at Mother McAuley for the past 15 years.
"They felt a connection between them," said LeCompte, unable to recall the exact amount of the donation other than being "in the thousands" of dollars.
Howard Ludwig says the note means a lot to the staff and students:
Indeed, both schools are Catholic institutions with an all-girls student body. The Chicago high school is significantly larger with 1,200 students, compared to the 300 students in grades 7-12 at Our Lady Academy.
The Gulf Coast school is also staffed by the Sisters of Mercy along with lay people. Mother McAuley was founded by the same religious order and remains closely tied to the group.
"Here on the coast of Mississippi, we received so much support — both financially and emotionally. Without this help, many schools, including my own, would not have been able to open," the letter written by a student from the class of 2017 reads.
"We sincerely thank you for your help and love. God bless you," the note concludes.
LeCompte said often such fundraisers are held quietly, and recipients might not respond for a bevy of reasons. But to have the thank-you note come at such a significant anniversary felt like a reward.
"For the gratitude to be reciprocated, it is really a great gift to give to us," she said.
Mother McAuley staffers posted a picture of the thank-you note on the school's Facebook page, along with a brief description of how the letter came about.
"Thank you for remembering us, Our Lady Academy. May all of our alumnae and students continue to spread Mercy wherever they go," the Mother McAuley Facebook post reads.
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