Academy of the Holy Names graduates speak out to defend the school in wake of lawsuit

Hillsborough County

TAMPA (WFLA) – More than 500 graduates of the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa have signed a letter in support of the school.

The letter is in response to a lawsuit filed by Anthony and Barbara Scarpo against the school. The Scarpo’s once donated more than $1.35 million to the school, but now claim the school is moving away from it’s primary mission.

The Scarpos are now suing the school claiming the school has “lost its way” by embracing a “woke culture” where priority is given to “gender identity, human sexuality and pregnancy termination among other hot button issues.”

The letter from the graduates of the Academy says “Our message is simple. We stand behind teachings of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe such teachings are not antithetical to the Catholic faith.”

Lizzie Dolan is a graduate of the Academy and recently graduated from Yale University she says she believes the Academy of The Holy Names is teaching in accordance with it’s primary beliefs.

“For me, and the reason we wrote this letter is because we want to really show that these teachings are Catholic in and of themselves and that there doesn’t need to be some sort of additional justification,” said Dolan.

Keri Kelly is also a graduate of the Academy of the Holy Names and a graduate of Columbia University. Kelly says she signed the letter to send a strong message to the incoming President of the school.

“It was really important to me to demonstrate to President Whitney that there are hundreds of Alumni who disagree with the Scarpo’s point of view,” said Kelly.

She also believes the teachings of diversity are in line with the teachings of Christ.

“It’s our understanding that the teachings of diversity, equity and inclusion, inherently align with Jesus’s teachings and the sisters of the Holy Names,” said Kelly.

Allie Reichert is also a graduate of the Academy and a recent graduate of Dartmouth University. She says many people who signed the letter also wrote of their own personal experiences at the school.

“The over arching theme of those testimony’s is that the Academy must continue teaching about racism, diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Reichert.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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