HARRISBURG - Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School sent several representatives to a rally at the state Capitol May 7 to show support for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program.

The rally is hosted every year with the purpose of celebrating the program and to thank legislators for their continued support.

"We appreciate Pennsylvania's lawmakers' commitment to the EITC program," said Otto V. Banks, executive director of the REACH Foundation, hosts of this event, in a press release. "The EITC is a testament that school choice works and is well received in Pennsylvania. We thank the House and Senate for their leadership on school choice issues and look forward to working with both chambers as the Pennsylvania legislature moves forward with efforts to provide our children with more educational options than they've ever had before."

Legislators speaking included Sen. Mike Follmer, Sen. Anthony Williams, Rep. Jim Christiana, Rep. Paul Clymer and Rep. Mike Vereb.

Recognized as a national model and the best example of public-private partnership in Pennsylvania, the EITC program has allowed more than 40,000 students to attend the school of their choice in this school year alone, and hundreds of public school initiatives would have gone unfunded without this program. During the 2012-13 school year, 40,750 EITC scholarships have been awarded. Additionally, since 2001, the business community has contributed more than $760 million to ensure that Pennsylvania's children receive the education they deserve.

Locally, Deacon Martin McCarthy is a big supporter of the EITC program and he has seen many benefits at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School. In the last three years, since the school has been actively using the program, more than $600,000 has benefitted more than 500 students. Tony Varano, a 1975 graduate of Lourdes, has been a champion of the program and was instrumental in getting it kick-started. On May 27, Lourdes will be hosting a recognition luncheon for all the local businesses who are involved.