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ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) – Friday night lights without a home crowd could become a reality for Elyria Catholic High School.

Elyria Catholic School President Annie Heidersbach said their campaign for new bleachers began in 2021.

In the spring of 2022, school officials decided to get the current bleachers checked out in an abundance of caution. 

After months of waiting, the report came back with stunning news:

“Ten days before a high-profile game against Elyria, our cross-town rivals, we get the report back saying they strongly suggest we don’t allow fans in our current bleacher stadium,” said Heidersbach. 

Heidersbach said the school was determined to play a season with home fans in the stands for 2022, especially for their senior class. 

The answer for the 2022 fall season was to rent bleachers for the year, which was funded by the school’s budget. 

“We found, we moved things around in our own school budget and paid $116,000 for rental bleachers. We cannot do that again,” explained Heidersbach.

It leaves the school with one option: raise the money necessary for new seats. 

In two years of campaigning, they have raised around $162,000. 

However, they are still $800,000 short. 

Heiderbach said she has been reluctant to share that information for some time but now, she wants her community to know exactly how urgent the need is. 

“I didn’t want to incite panic, but the time came,” saidHeiderbach. 

Despite the odds, Heiderbach believes they will raise the money needed on time. 

Simply put, her students need her, and she is ready to go the distance. 

“We are going to do this somehow, I guarantee it. I am a long-distance runner, I can run long distances, I don’t give up easily, and I am persistent,” said Heiderbach. 

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