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East LA Catholic School Remains Open With Crafty Marketing Campaign

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An East Los Angeles Catholic school was saved from closure, thanks to a savvy marketing ploy that offered students who brought in new recruits video game consoles.

Last July, new principal Cori Marasco was brought in to save the 97-year-old facility, which was on a list of struggling schools slated to close. Enrollment had dwindled to 35 students.

Marasco retooled the education model by focusing on technology. She found ways to expand financial aid and then made the move to offer students who landed recruits donated Netbooks and Xboxes.

“In this area, not many people understand that Catholic education is affordable, and that’s why we hit the streets,” she said.

Students and parents went door-to-door in the neighborhood and made personal pitches.

“I went to the park and passed out flyers to everyone that was passing by me,” said student Adriana Landeros.

“My son’s whole attitude and demeanor had changed by coming to this school,” said parent Anthony Bueno. “We definitely wanted to do our part as far as keeping the school open.”

Marasco said even though enrollment has increased to more than 170 students, there’s a lot of work to be done.

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