BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Alumnae of the all-girls Institute of Notre Dame high school in Baltimore gathered outside the school Sunday to pray for its continued operation after leaders announced its closure earlier this year.

IND is set to close on Tuesday after 173 years, but a group of graduates is hoping it can keep the school open.

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“We can’t let the school close, we just can’t. It’s not an option,” Drena Fretatta, who graduated from IND in 1983, said.

The impact and community service the school has been parent to is what the world needs more of right now, she said.

“It’s about 173 years of girls who walked through these halls, who were educated, who went out into the community to serve, and we think another 173 years of girls need to be walking the same halls,” Fretatta said.

The all-girls Institute of Notre Dame announced it’s closing its doors

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In May, school leaders announced its closure, citing under-enrollment, millions of dollars in needed repairs and the impact of the coronavirus.

Still, some of those who walked its halls aren’t giving up hope that future generations can do the same.

“We are looking as a group into what the school was struggling with … what is it as a group we can do to address these issues to stay open?” 2005 graduate Amanda Michael said.

As the alumnae gathered to pray outside the historic building — and others took part virtually to abide by social distancing guidelines — they reflected on the school’s role in the Underground Railroad, caring for soldiers in the Civil War and empowering the young women of today.

“It’s a place we all called home for four years. It’s more than the brick and mortar of this building; it’s the spirit that’s engrained in you,” Fretatta said.

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Organizers of the movement to save the school said they’ve reached out to its leaders to see what they can do but have not received a response.

Rachael Cardin