Student-launched online campaign aims to save grade school from closing

Groups appeal to community to help with efforts to raise $400,000 to save St. Bede School

INGLESIDE – A local high school student, St. Bede School, the Athletic Association and the Parents Association have joined efforts to launch a “Fund Our Falcons” fundraising campaign to raise $400,000 to save the school from closing next school year.

Susan Lutzke, a senior at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, created a GoFundMe page as soon as she learned the risk of school closure. The former St. Bede student helped spur the online efforts and has raised more than a third of the goal as school administration and the parish worked to organize a coordinated campaign.

The news was shared with school families Dec. 13 and since then, the administration, heads of the school board, Parent Association and Athletic Association, along with families, friends, parishioners and alumni have hit the ground running.

Starting as a mission from the Chicago Archdiocese, St. Bede School under “Our Lady of the Lakes Parish” notified school families Dec. 13 that in order for the school to open for the 2024-25 school year in August, $400,000 would need to be raised by Jan. 26. The funds are needed to cover the operating deficit for the next school year.

“I can’t imagine St. Bede School closing. It was such a big part of my childhood,” said Lutzke, who attended the school from ages 3 to 14. “I’m asking the community to help support by donating to Fund the Falcons and continuing the legacy of providing a meaningful education and that’s why I started the GoFundMe campaign.”

A website,, has been created to help coordinate activities planned to raise funds and for updates.

“My children have been attending St. Bede School for the past seven years and it has been a wonderful experience from the dedicated teaching staff focused on academics to the welcoming nature and sense of community and it has been an integral part of our daily lives,” said Miranda Ripley, president of the St. Bede School Parents Association. “We hope St. Bede School can be here for the community for decades to come and ask for continued support.”

The school was built in 2007. There are 194 students in grade levels from preschool to eighth. The school offers numerous extracurricular activities, including before- and after-school programs, church choir, altar servers, prayer society, band, piano, Young Rembrandts art club, student council, cooking club, homework club, service club and an athletic program for students in grades 4 to 8.

In 2018, the school was named by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

St. Bede School is home to students from Antioch, Fox Lake, Gages Lake, Grayslake, Ingleside, Johnsburg, Lake Barrington, Lakemoor, Lake Villa, McHenry, Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Park, Volo and Wauconda.

Tax-deductible donations can be made in person or mailed to St. Bede School with the envelope marked: Fundraising: 36399 N. Wilson Road, Ingleside, IL 60041-9611.

More information is at

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