August 12, 2005
Two Harbors Elementary School, also known as the little red schoolhouse on Catalina Island, has earned a reprieve. It will keep its doors open, thanks to the generosity of island residents, the boating community, and others like the mysterious Fullerton Yacht Club who responded to the urgent call for financial help.
During the one-room school’s 17-year history at the isthmus near the rural west end of the island, enrollment has dwindled from two dozen children to only three students last school year, the lowest enrollment ever. The Long Beach Unified School District could no longer afford to keep the school open. Two Harbors was about to be recommended for closure this fall.
But quick action led by Catalina Islanders Michelle Phelps and Doug and Maureen Oudin attracted a huge response this summer and saved the day.
"Dear Friends," read their letter of appeal. "Two Harbors Little Red Schoolhouse is in trouble."
To date, the organizers have raised nearly $100,000—enough for Two Harbors to continue to operate this fall. A Nissan executive contributed $4,000. Most donations were from $10 to $100. Even the commodore and members of California’s only landlocked yacht club without water—the Fullerton Yacht Club—donated to the worthy cause.
A total of more than $200,000 is needed to keep the school open for the next three years. After that, parents hope the state budget crisis eases and enrollment increases enough to justify keeping the little school open.
Anyone who wishes to contribute to keeping this unique one-room school operating may send tax deductible contributions to Two Harbors School Foundation, P.O. Box 5093, Avalon, CA 90704.