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Philadelphia-Area Students Rally At Catholic Schools Slated To Close

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Yellow ribbons, signs and balloons, adorn the front of Saint Hubert's Catholic High School for girls after a protest Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in Philadelphia. Students gathered to voice opposition for an archdiocese closure and consolidation plan that would shutter 48 schools including St. Hubert's. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Yellow ribbons, signs and balloons, adorn the front of Saint Hubert's Catholic High School for girls after a protest Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in Philadelphia. Students gathered to voice opposition for an archdiocese closure and consolidation plan that would shutter 48 schools including St. Hubert's. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PHILADELPHIA — Students at several Philadelphia-area Catholic schools slated for closure staged rallies Monday to voice their opposition to an archdiocese plan that would shutter 48 schools.

Dozens of students gathered outside St. Hubert's High School for Girls carrying signs, chanting and singing the school's Alma Mater.

St. Hubert's is one of four Roman Catholic high schools slated for closure under a plan announced Friday by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The plan would also close 44 elementary schools because of declining enrollment and rising costs.

On Monday night, hundreds of current and past St. Hubert's students gathered in the school auditorium to talk about ways to try to get the decision reversed.

About 360 students from West Philadelphia Catholic High held a rally before classes began, chanting and holding up signs that read "Keep Our School Open."

The Rev. Michael Marone, the school minister, said he and his students are very passionate about West Catholic. The students vowed Monday's rally will be the first of many.

"We have so many good people who are interested in our school, who love our school," Marone said. "They come into the building, they meet our kids and they say how wonderful they are."

Officials in the archdiocese say declining enrollments are forcing the closures, which will displace almost 24,000 students.

The archdiocese's student enrollment is down 35 percent since 2001.