Two years ago, St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Tampa was in danger of closing. 

Today, the school is celebrating a major achievement that even caught administrators by surprise.

With the help of volunteers, the school has managed to recruit 163 students this school year. That's up from 102 students the year before.

School leaders say that's a drastic improvement at a time when other Catholic schools have been struggling to recruit students.

"We were so threatened with Sacred Heart closing that we were, like, if you don't make this number this year, our survival might be in jeopardy," principal Sr. Maria Babatunde said.

That's when a massive recruitment campaign began. The principal gathered volunteers from the school and church, and they traveled to different churches, day care centers and apartment complexes.

Volunteers knocked on doors, held Saturday informational sessions and distributed flyers. Administrators also revamped the school's website.

And even when school was out for the summer, the principal never took a day off. Sr. Babatunde kept the school open to help parents enroll.

Lakeesha Lattin enrolled her children for the first time this school year. She didn't even know about the school until the campaign began.

"Word of mouth, you know, it spread by at least three times," Lattin said.

Another move that helped boost enrollment was pushing the Step Up For Kids program. The program provides scholarships that help pay most of the tuition. This year, more money was available. Volunteers talked about it everywhere they went. They even helped parents fill out the paperwork.

"We had to walk many of them through the process," Sr. Babatunde said.

This year, Sr.Babatunde says 90 percent of the students are on scholarship or in the process of getting the state program. It's an unprecedented number for the school.

Seeing 163 youngsters fill the classrooms has become an in-school reminder for administrators that hard work can pay off.

The principal says their next task is to make sure the students stay at the school by boosting student performance and focusing on academics.