RIVERDALE -- It's because they're like family.
That's why Christian Heritage School seniors Laramie Riggs and Ashley DiGiacomo are working with classmates to raise money for their school, which is facing a $400,000 financial deficit.
The school recently eliminated 12 teaching and administrative positions mid-year, with more cuts and even a possible closure looming.
"We are trying to think of any way to raise money for the school," DiGiacomo said. "We are just trying to get students to believe in the school and stay with the school."
The girls, both student body officers, have plans to recruit new students while working to keep current students coming back every year.
Riggs said other student organizations now are donating to the school the proceeds from such fundraisers as selling snacks at sports events and tailgating parties, rather than keeping the money in their organizations.
To illustrate how much the school means to them and their classmates, DiGiacomo and Riggs also created a video that was shown at parents' meetings discussing the budget cuts.
Interim headmaster Steve Diehl said the school still needs to raise about $400,000 to stay open through the rest of the school year, despite the recent layoffs.
"We're in more jeopardy than we'd like to be in," he said. "We don't have the cash to finish the year. So is closure a possibility? Yes. Is it going to happen this year? We hope not."
While the students race to raise funds for their school, Diehl said the school board is focusing on asking for donations as part of the school's annual drive and working to create a different financial plan for next year.
Diehl said the financial issue is caused by low enrollment numbers, with more students leaving the private school for charter schools, and by the state of the economy.
He also said tuition has not been raised at the school for the past several years, despite increasing costs. Starting next year, tuition definitely will be higher.
"We have to (raise tuition)," Diehl said. "That was one of the mistakes in the past."
DiGiacomo said she's doing all she can to help the school because of the close relationships she has formed there and the experiences she has had as a student.
"I want to be able to come back to this school 10 years from now and have it still be here," she said.
"I want to see this school grow because I know what it has done for me, and I know what it can do for others."
Riggs said the students are inclined to help because they already feel that they have a voice in their school and can make a difference.
"We have the ability to make a change and help the school survive."