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St. Rita School for Deaf ends festival after 99 years

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A sign advertises St. Rita School for the Deaf's summer festival in this undated file photo. St. Rita announced Friday it has ended the festival after 99 years. (CT File)
A sign advertises St. Rita School for the Deaf’s summer festival in this undated file photo. St. Rita announced Friday it has ended the festival after 99 years. (CT File)

In a press release to local media Friday afternoon, St. Rita School for the Deaf announced that it will be ending it’s annual St. Rita Fest.

The festival, which first took place in 1916, raised funds for the school. According to a history on the school website, St. Rita Fest brought in $5 million over the past 25 years.

The full press release from the school follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ST. RITA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF ANNOUNCES IT WILL DISCONTINUE
A CINCINNATI SUMMER TRADITION: ST. RITA FEST

St. Rita School for the Deaf, in an effort to be more strategically focused on its core mission of teaching children and helping families lead more productive lives has made a decision to end St. Rita Fest, a long-standing summer family tradition.  A review was conducted by St. Rita Trustees of the Board considering costs and staff resources necessary to produce St. Rita Fest.  It was determined that despite its popularity and nearly 100 year history, alternate fundraising efforts would better ensure the financial future of the school.

“The school will focus on other funding avenues to ensure its future success. The quality and continued innovation of our programs and services is paramount to our mission.  We realize that thousands of people in our community have fond memories of St. Rita Fest, and we feel honored to have been a part of so many people’s lives”, said Gregory Ernst, Executive Director, St. Rita School for the Deaf.  “We believe this is the right thing to do for the future of our students and sincerely hope that the people of Greater Cincinnati will continue to support us in other ways”, he continued.

St. Rita will continue the annual Grand Raffle, which has always been a cornerstone of St. Rita Fest.  The Grand Raffle sells a limited number of tickets for a chance to win $25,000 in cash.  The Grand Raffle helps provide funds to support St. Rita School programs.

St. Rita School for the Deaf, a school of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, relies almost exclusively on the generosity of individuals, corporations, organizations, foundations and community partners to fund its operations and programs.

“Our deepest and sincerest gratitude goes to all of our sponsors. Their gifts continue to enhance 100 years of education excellence. We also have sincere gratitude for the 2,000+ St. Rita Fest volunteers who have dedicated countless hours and years along with their talents into putting together a festival of this magnitude.  It would not have been possible without them”, Mr. Ernst continued.

About St. Rita School for the Deaf
St. Rita School for the Deaf, located in Evendale, Ohio has provided education for the deaf and hard of hearing since 1915. Today it is one of the only schools in the country of its kind- a private school with both day and residential programs for the deaf and for those who need special methods of communication. St. Rita School offers educational and socialization programs to meet the individualized special needs of each child so he/she is prepared for the same opportunities that we all hold to be most important in our society-an education, a family, a career, a full life. For more information visit www.srsdeaf.org or call 513-771-7600.

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