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Pastors set up on the St. John Catholic School roof for a fundraiser. The total soared beyond their goal.

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In order to reach a higher donation total in this year’s Day of Giving at St. John Catholic School, a decision was made to literally look a bit higher.

The school’s first Priests on the Roof fundraiser paid off, raising more than double last year’s Day of Giving total.

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With the goal of $8,000 in mind, Father Mark Bialek, pastor, and Father Andrew DeFusco, associate pastor, climbed to the top of the St. John’s Catholic School roof Tuesday morning, where they remained until the school’s dismissal.

The original plan was for the fathers to remain on the roof until the goal was reached, but they decided to push even further for their students.

“I want to stay up at least until we have dismissal, which is going to be around 3:30,” Bialek said earlier in the day. “Just so the kids can see us one more time.”

According to Bialek, the day served as a perfect way to interact with not only the students but with the community as well.

“It was just an opportunity to draw attention to the school and bring the parish and school closer together while also reaching out to the community,” Bialek said. “So it’s just an opportunity just to have a lot of fun with the kids kind of throughout the day. So we’ve been having marshmallow battles and other things and they’re trying to throw marshmallows up at us and we’re throwing marshmallows. So it really fosters school spirit and the kids are having a blast."

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Last year, the Day of Giving fundraiser raised about $6,000, according to Emily Alster, communications coordinator for St. John Catholic Parish and School. But they wanted to go a little higher for the school.

“A lot of our money that we raised goes towards tuition assistance, and it goes towards STEM projects,” Alster said in reference to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “So those would be the two biggest things that we’re looking for money right now.”

A day before the fundraiser, they had already received about $1,000 in donations through their donation link or checks from those who couldn’t attend on Tuesday.

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The Day of Giving is part of a bigger celebration, Catholic School Week, which is celebrated across the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate or Catholic schools and our Catholic education,” Bialek said.

Staying on the roof longer than originally planned proved promising, as the fundraiser surpassed their goal by more than $5,000, bringing their grand total to $13,447 raised, according to Alster.

“We thought if we could get more community participation and we draw attention to the school that we really think we could do more," Bialek said. "All the money helps with tuition assistance, it helps us improve our STEM program as far as education, so every dollar really counts and makes a great difference.”


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