Save OLOG (Our Lady of Guadalupe School)!
Save OLOG (Our Lady of Guadalupe School)!
To the greater Catholic Community, the Roman Catholic Church, the Superintendent Dr. Guadalupe Perez, Bishop James A. Tamayo, the Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, and Most Holy Father, Pope Francis:
Our community of Laredo, Texas has been around since 1755, and is rich with history, culture and traditions. Located on the border of the U.S and Mexico, the heritage of most of the population is Hispanic. As the patron saint of Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe, is deeply ingrained in the hearts of this area’s Catholics.
Our Lady of Guadalupe School was founded in 1904, and has operated continuously in of one the older parts of Laredo for the last 115 years. It has served the community, educating the children of the poor, working class and wealthy equally, through plentiful and lean years, with a commitment of instilling Christian values as a foundation for life. In fact, it has withstood TWO World Wars, the Depression, several Recessions, and declining interests in religious education.
The reason it has withstood so much is the deep commitment the faculty and staff have to its continuation—the belief and faith that they are nurturing the next generations of the Catholic faithful and leaders. Past and current principals, as well as the many teachers of this school, have dedicated their lives, money, and hearts to the children and the community. They have embraced the idea that it takes a village to raise a child, that the community is accountable in the upbringing of the young, and have the firm strong conviction that this can be accomplished with a firm hand tempered with a deep love—a love that comes from our Christian beliefs.
The alumni of this school are everywhere throughout the city of Laredo and beyond. They are judges and attorneys, policemen and soldiers, teachers and federal workers. They are vice principals and professors. But most importantly, they are Christians—Catholics and Protestants alike, who received their foundational education at Our Lady of Guadalupe School, shaping them into the people who they are today. These are the people who as adults have chosen to come back to teach at the school, make donations to it, and enroll their children and grandchildren. This school is a generational legacy dating back to 1904.
Now the decision has been made by Bishop Tamayo to close this school. The official story is that St. Peter’s Memorial and Our Lady of Guadalupe will be merged. However, this is NOT a merger. Although the building at 400 Callaghan will be used, Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLOG) will cease to exist. The faculty and staff is to be dismissed and replaced. The name changed.
Without the name, the entity, the identity, of the oldest Catholic school in Laredo will cease to exist. The traditions (alumni masses, the WBCA parades, the Jamaicas, the Bingos), the culture (Matachines, community service, ballet Folklorico, the Lupitas, the Antorcha Guadalupana, The Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe), the sense of unity—Gone! A piece of Laredo history, 115 years’ worth, will be wiped out, erased—to be replaced by nothing more than a building labeled as a Catholic school.
Without the name and its staff, the building at 400 Callaghan is little more than an empty shell.
Parents and alumni, Catholics, will not send their children to some unknown school just because it is housed in a familiar location. The people of Laredo know the values and tenements that this historic institution treasures and strives to instill in its students. Each alumni will always carry a piece of this school, OLOG, in their hearts.
We, the parents and students of Our Lady of Guadalupe School, alumni and the Catholics of the parishes in the Laredo Diocese, are signing this petition demanding that the closure of Our Lady of Guadalupe School be halted. We want the archbishop, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, to intervene and investigate the situation occurring in the Laredo, Texas Diocese. We demand more time to pay off the debt owed to the diocese. We want a fair chance to keep this historic school open for future students and to be able to make a sustainable plan of action to avoid this situation ever happening again.
The People of Laredo, Texas