PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Growing up, I was part of this community," said Kristie Hughes Dugan. "It was friendship and sisterhood, having a safe place to come and learn."
Hughes Dugan served as the Vice President of Publicity for the class of 1992 at Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls. Shortly after graduation, she was informed that the school was preparing to close down. But through a strong community initiative to raise funds and support, the doors remain open to this day.
The Northeast Philadelphia resident assumed the role of school president earlier this year. After roughly four months in the role, she was formally installed with a commemorative mass.
"It's a different animal right now because now I am the president of the school," she said. "Now, it's my responsibility to make sure that when girls come here, they get a really amazing Catholic education."
Fellow classmates joined Hughes Dugan in celebration, wearing decorative pins depicting her sign-of-the-times hairstyle from 1992.
"Kristie being president is prayers being answered," said '92 graduate Terry Foley. "She works so hard. She's an alum. She's a mom. The whole feeling in the building is just electric that she's here."
And current classmates seem to have welcomed Hughes Dugan with open arms.
"Knowing that there's an administrator here, a leader here, who really wants to treat us like we're her own, is extremely important," said senior Grace Krakauskas. "And I just felt so comforted and happy to see her."
Hughes Dugan is known for snapping selfies and sitting on the sidelines of school sporting events.
"She comes to our volleyball games. She's very involved in the community. She makes an effort everywhere," said junior Tatiana McQuillar, who was originally a student at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School.
Little Flower notably opened its doors to students from the recently-closed schools in Philadelphia such as Hallahan, Bishop McDevitt, and Saint Basil Academy. This gave Hughes Dugan all the more reason to steer the ship steadily towards the future.
"My commitment is to grow the school so we're here for at least another 30 years because this community, our community needs the school and we need the community," she said.
To learn more about Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls, visit their website.