Catholic School News

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Catholic School News
  1. Mass for former students of St. Mary of the Angels
    Left: Archbishop Celestine J. Damiano is escorted into the new St. Mary of the Angels Academy building by Sister Aileen Marie in this 1967 photo. Right: the exterior of the all girls school, which was located on Kings Highway in Haddonfield. A statue of Mary that was on the grounds of the former school is now at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, Pennsauken. A Mass for former students of St. Mary of the Angels will be celebrated at Bishop Eustace on May 18.

    Next month a statue of Mary long familiar to generations of students of an all girls Catholic school will be on display in a new location.
    All graduates of the former St. Mary of the Angels Academy in Haddonfield are invited to a Mass and dedication of the statue of the Blessed Mother that was on the school grounds. The event will be held at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, Pennsauken, on Sunday, May 18, at 1 p.m., followed by a reception at Christ the King Church, Haddonfield, in Morgan Hall. Members of the Allegany Franciscan community are invited as well.
    From 1945-72, the small private girls' Catholic secondary school, run by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y., enrolled an annual student body of about 200 from South Jersey, with a few boarders at first.
    Located on Kings Highway West, the school and convent were initially housed in two large Victorian homes. Classes were held in former bedrooms, with the living room serving as the library. Two outer buildings were eventually built to house two classrooms, a science lab, chapel and gym/recreation room.
    In the mid-1960s the old school and convent were torn down and replaced by a new, larger school and convent. But in 1972 the school was closed and sold to Kingsway Learning Center, its current owner. The Franciscans retained the newer convent until selling it several years ago.
    In 1972, with the school's closing, several students transferred to Bishop Eustace Prep, which became coed that year.
    Once the convent was sold, the only remaining vestige of the original SMAA was a statue of the Blessed Mother. It stood first on the rear grounds of the school, then in front of the new school and finally in front of the convent.
    But when the convent was sold, the statue was without a home until Jim Rhoads, a Eustace alum and brother to three SMAA grads, bought the former convent and arranged for the statue to relocate to the grounds of Bishop Eustace Prep. Rhoads redeveloped the convent into apartments, naming it Academy House.
    Graduates from the SMAA class of '63 donated a plaque to go with the statue.
    A free-will offering will be taken to cover costs of the May 18 event. Anyone planning to attend should contact Geri Egizi Borbe at

  2. And they’re off...
    Left: Dr. Courtney Malcarney, Christ the King School Class of 1950, pictured with his wife Kathryn, was honored with the Knights Award for his years of service to Catholic education at The King's Ball, a Kentucky Derby themed fundraiser for the school, on March 29 at the Mansion in Voorhees. The award was presented by his grandson, Joseph Malcarney, class of 2001. Right, ready for the mint juleps.
  3. Gloucester Catholic breaks ground for athletic complex
    Photo by James A. McBride

    groundbreaking-webParticipating in the groundbreaking ceremony for Gloucester Catholic High School's new athletic complex are, from left, John Colman, head of school; Father Allain Caparas, Director of Catholic Identity; Msgr. James Curran, pastor, St. Mary Parish, Gloucester City; State Senator Fred Madden; Bishop Dennis Sullivan; students Max McCall, Rachel Haines, Kyle Murphy and Zach Carney; and principal Edward Beckett.

    Alumni, friends, representatives of the Camden Diocese and school officials celebrated the groundbreaking for Gloucester Catholic High School's new athletic complex in a ceremony at Rowan College at Gloucester County on April 2.
    Bishop Dennis Sullivan blessed the fields, and New Jersey State Senator Fred Madden, a 1972 GCHS alumni, reflected on how a Catholic education shaped his life.
    Student representatives Zach Carney '14, National Honor Society President, and Kyle Murphy, '18, GC Junior High Student Council President, also addressed the overflow audience in the college's University Center complex, which sits right behind where Phase 1 of the project has begun.
    Bishop Sullivan commented on the enthusiastic turnout of Gloucester Catholic alumni and friends for the groundbreaking. "Gloucester Catholic has a proud tradition in athletics, and it's exciting that our future students will finally have home fields to call their own," he said. "The spirit of the alumni is absolutely contagious in support of these new fields."
    In 2010, the Diocese of Camden offered Gloucester Catholic the use of 75 acres located off County Road 603 in Deptford to develop a new athletic complex. Since the school's founding in 1926, Gloucester Catholic has borrowed fields throughout the area. Only Ram basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams enjoy a true home game advantage.
    The school administration, with the counsel of alumni and volunteers, have raised nearly $1.2 million to date toward the development of the new complex. School officials hope that Phase 1 of the project, consisting of practice fields for football and as well as varsity lacrosse and soccer fields, will be ready for action by fall 2014.

  4. Camden Catholic announces Hall of Fame 2014 inductees
    On Saturday, April 12, Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill, will welcome 15 individual inductees and three teams into its Hall of Fame.
    Eight of these inductees will be installed in the Emerald Hall of Fame for Academics and Arts, and the remaining seven individuals and three teams will be installed in the Green and White Hall of Fame for Athletics. This is the eighth group to be recognized with the honor since the event began in 2007.
    Hall of Fame committee chairperson Jack Wixted ‘72, said, "Each year it is a true pleasure to accept nominations for so many highly-accomplished members of the Camden Catholic family, those who have proven themselves on the athletic fields, on stage and in studios, and in the classroom. These graduates are emblematic of the true spirit of Camden Catholic."
    Funds raised at the Hall of Fame event benefit scholarships for current CCHS students who are selected by the Hall of Fame committee based on a submitted essay, leadership qualities, determination, and Camden Catholic spirit.
    The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the Grandi Auditorium at Camden Catholic (300 Cuthbert Road, Cherry Hill). A cocktail reception will follow the ceremony. Tickets are $45/person in advance and $55/person at the door. Purchase online at, call 856-663-2247 ext.136 or email Donations to the Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund may also be made in the honorees names, and a program book offers the opportunity to congratulate the inductees.

    Emerald Hall of Fame for Academics and Arts:

    Jack Carty ‘47: longtime reporter, columnist, and editor for the Courier-Post; played on resurrected football team and first CCHS baseball team; awarded first Tom Kenney Outstanding Athlete Award in 1946.

    Joseph Clarke, Sr. ‘32 (posthumous): longtime reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer; established Clarke Realty.

    Pat Delsi (Pasquale DelSignore) ‘52: broadcaster, disc jockey, sportscaster and popular master of ceremonies throughout the Delaware Valley; the voice of Drexel basketball for the last 30 years.

    Charles Grandi ‘69: former president and CEO of Fibre-Metal Products Company; established the Charles & Marie Grandi Foundation which has supported more than 100 students at CCHS in addition to major funding of the arts programs at CCHS.

    William Lanza ‘66: Vietnam veteran, longtime volunteer for the Atlantic County Veterans Service.

    Elizabeth Tirrell Mazzeo ‘77: COO, Bloomberg L.P., responsible for Operations, Professional Development, Career Development, and Administration.

    Dennis McGonigle ‘78: COO, SEI Investments; responsible for guiding the efforts of a number of units within the company, including the corporate and insurance markets, as well as SEI's own financial team.

    Robert Viggiano ‘54: Courier-Post sports reporter for 49 years; South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame; Camden County Sports Hall of Fame; researched and compiled South Jersey high school sports history from 1900 to the present, cataloguing for the use of schools' research.

    Green and White Hall of Fame for Athletics:

    Ralph Bantivoglio ‘56 (posthumous): baseball and basketball; established career school marks in basketball for assists and points; was the first Irish player to surpass 1,000 points.

    Joseph DiPietro ‘76: football and baseball, former softball coach.

    Kristina Branca Gozdan ‘86: softball; one of the key members of the first Camden Catholic state championship softball team.

    Barbara Patterson ‘73: field hockey, basketball and softball; earned 11 varsity letters at CCHS.

    John Sigmund ‘96: football and basketball.

    David Slattery ‘82: basketball; finished Irish career with 1,097 points in 77 varsity games; a school record of 723 rebounds (now third on list) and his 307 rebounds in 1982 is the second highest single-season total in school history.

    William Wheeler ‘86: football, wrestling, baseball.

    1929 Boys Basketball Team: winners of the Trenton Diocesan Championship; traveled to Chicago to compete in the National Catholic Basketball Tournament held at Loyola University; 21-4 record.

    1974 Wrestling Team: the only undefeated and untied team in school history.

    1990 Girls Soccer Team: NJSIAA State Group 3 Co-Champion, South Jersey Group 3 Champion, school's first Olympic Conference National Division championship in soccer.

  5. Education summit set for March 24
    The second Annual Education Summit, sponsored by Catholic Partnership Schools, will take place on Monday, March 24 at the Enterprise Center at Burlington County College in Mount Laurel. Sister of St. Joseph Karen Dietrich, CPS executive director, discusses the summit:

    What is the goal of the Education Summit?
    We hope this year's Summit will continue the conversation we began last year about the research, strategies and applications that will best ensure an emotionally supportive and solid educational foundation for students. There is a growing realization that especially our children growing up in environments of poverty and violence are physiologically, emotionally and developmentally impacted by their neighborhoods and home lives.
    There is undeniable research that the best curriculum and instruction is not enough - alone - to help children and young people to build character, attain the self-control and perseverance that are critical to achievement - to set goals and persist through sometimes insurmountable obstacles. Tending to those social and emotional traits that are the foundation for goodness, and happiness and productive fulfilling adult lives are dependent on the patience and great care of adults who wrap these children daily in our schools.
    We'd be foolish to think that what happens in our classrooms can be adequately or completely measured by testing and scores. Those who work directly with students and their families well know the importance of academic proficiency, literacy and numeracy. They also know that there truly is a whole child that sits in front of them each day.

    Why is the theme "Self Control, Poverty, Social and Emotional Development and the Roles they Play in Raising Our Children"?
    Each of the speakers are foremost experts in the field of social/emotional development. They are psychologists, educators, doctors who work daily to find the insights that will help practitioners inform their practice in very real and somewhat simple ordinary ways... but to do it knowingly and intentionally. That's really the secret... to intentionally know what interventions can have a profoundly positive impact on the life of a young person in our care.

    For more information visit, or contact Sister Karen Dietrich, 856-338-0966,

  6. New president for Camden Catholic
    whipkeyheadshot-webBishop Dennis Sullivan has appointed Mary Whipkey as the third president of Camden Catholic High School. The appointment was made upon the recommendation of the Board of Trustees of Camden Catholic.
    Whipkey has been interim president since May 2013. She previously served as director of development and admissions at Camden Catholic. In the interim president role, Whipkey has overseen the ongoing Camden Catholic High School Campaign for the Future. The school has announced an increase in registrations for the incoming Class of 2018.
    The new Camden Catholic president earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Villanova University and a master's in professional communications from La Salle University.
    She resides in Marlton with her husband, Colin. They are the parents of three adult children, all Camden Catholic alumni.
  7. Camden Catholic capital campaign
    cchs-webPictured from left are Heather Crisci, Camden Catholic principal; James Madden, honorary co-chair; Agnes Madden, honorary co-chair; Father Scott Pilarz, board chair; Mary Whipkey, president of the school; and Charles Grand, honorary co-chair.

    Photo by Alan M.Dumoff

    On March 10 Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill, announced the public launch of "The Campaign for Camden Catholic: A Bold Vision for the Future," a three-tiered strategic effort to raise $6 million for South Jersey's oldest Catholic high school.
    So far, $4.1 million has already been pledged toward the campaign.
    "We are embarking on this effort after careful research and consideration," said Jesuit Father Scott Pilarz, ‘77, president of the Camden Catholic Board of Trustees and co-chair of The Campaign. "We have been fortunate to have the support of alumni and friends of the school during the annual fund drive each year, but the time has come for all of us to step forward in a monumental way."
    The Pilarz family has pledged $250,000 towards the campaign.
    In addition to the Pilarz family gift, board member and campaign co-chair Robert DiStanislao, '78 has pledged $250,000 and John Pisa, ‘74 has pledged $250,000.
    The largest gift in school history, however, has been pledged by John Langan and Judith Nadell, who have committed to scholarship support in the amount of $1 million over five years. The Langan-Nadell Scholarship program began at CCHS in 2008 with the foundation's support of full-tuition for 15 gifted students from Camden.
    Mary Whipkey, president of Camden Catholic, along with campaign co-chairs Father Pilarz, DiStanislao, Jack Wixted, ‘72 and Linda Schilling, ‘70, and honorary co-chairs Agnes, '63 and Jim, '57 Madden and Charlie Grandi, ‘69, have been working toward the $6 million goal since 2012.
    During her time as Interim President, Whipkey has been traveling throughout the country, meeting with alumni and donors to brief them on the plans and to ask for their support.
    The campaign will focus on three main areas:
    - Physical improvements to the main school building and campus in Cherry Hill, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012-13;
    - Increased scholarship support to qualified students; and
    - Enhancement of academics and curriculum through faculty fellowships, college partnerships and improved technology.
    The first physical improvement project, renovation of the dining hall, will commence in the summer of 2014 with a goal of completion for the 2014-15 school year. Future projects will include the addition of an entrance foyer on the north side of the school, and a renovated façade, including new hardscaping and landscaping. The increased scholarship funding is allowing the school to provide financial support for current and incoming students.
    Funding has also been immediately invested in the enhancement of the school's academics and curriculum, evidenced in the launch of the Leadership Academy and the Msgr. Brennan Faculty Fellowship, as well as the continued growth of the International Program and Arts Academy.
    "The future is bright for the students of CCHS," said Heather Crisci, principal. "Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends, we will continue to attract engaging, well-rounded students who are proud and excited to become a part of the legacy that is Camden Catholic.

  8. Show, don’t tell
    mimekids-webFirst grade students at St. Mary School, Vineland, receive a first-hand lesson from Miss Jones on how to be a mime.

    Mime artist Miss Jones from Mobile Education introduced students to the "art of silence" - mime - at St. Mary School, Vineland, on March 6. The occasion was Young Authors Day.
    During the program the performer discussed the differences between "writing for the stage and writing for the page." She stressed the importance of structure and told the students where she got the inspiration for her stories.
    Miss Jones challenged the students to create their own stories using the "3 Ps and 1 S" technique. (i.e., person, place, problem and solution).
    They discussed different possibilities for their creative stories and then students returned to their classrooms to write stories for the performer. During the writing process the performer stopped in classrooms to answer questions and help with the writing.

  9. Catholic schools, struggles and rewards
    I sit in the pews of my parish and l listen to another homily/announcement. Our parish school, St. Stephen's, will be closing its doors in June. Another Catholic school shuttered due to plunging enrollment and an inability to fiscally support itself. I sigh as I listen to the bleak news.
    I am not connected to the school as closely as the parish. It is not my alumni or even my children's. My youngest son did attend pre-K 3 and 4 there and had a wonderful experience. It was additionally interesting and enriching for the family as he brought a whole new vocabulary of religion and belief that had been missed as our other three girls had simply done daycare. Of course, listening to your religion through the eyes of a 4-year-old has its own interpretations.
    At one dinner table conversation I was informed that "Jesus heals blondes."
    "Are you sure it wasn't the blind, buddy?" I asked looking down at the other end of the dining room table.
    "Nope. Blondes," I was told assuredly.
    But our three girls attend Merchantville and had a good education there, and my wife and I did not intend to break that track record for our youngest. So we transferred him over.
    Listening to this news of St. Stephen's closing I felt questions weighing on my mind. Had I done enough as a Catholic? Should I have supported my parish school better? What were my obligations to St. Stephen's School? Have I compartmentalized my life (and my children's life) so much that I have missed something critical to the growth of my/our faith? I liken CCD to the GED of high school diplomas. I would never allow my children to settle for this in their education. Why would I allow them to settle for this in their religious faith formation? Am I so compartmentalized between my public and religious life?
    I am additionally conflicted as my professional world is in slight contradiction to Catholic schools today. Ironically we sit between Catholic Schools Week on the calendar and National School Choice Week. I sit in the pews as it's announced that a Catholic school is closing and I am a charter school person who just opened up a new school last year. I have stood at the cutting edge of the charter school movement in New Jersey since its beginning. I have founded four separate charters in Camden. Every year we have expanded enrollment and have larger fiscal budgets. We have a specific mission and purpose and I am proud of the work we have done and accomplishments for the betterment of our Camden children.
    I am also equally confronted with the reality in our urban environment that my successes lead to the struggles of the inner city Catholic schools in Camden. I am ever mindful that my expansion usually has a direct impact on the five Catholic schools that have bonded together under the Catholic Partnership Schools non-profit and the work of the Healey Foundation: St. Anthony's, Holy Name, Sacred Heart, St. Joe's Pro-Cathedral and St. Cecilia's.
    I have deliberated on this and even held conversations with the Catholic Partnership Schools. My proposal in the past has been to open up a charter school in place of a struggling Catholic school. Establish a landlord/tenant relationship. In so doing, you have changed the direction of the flow of money. As opposed to operating in a deficit and supporting a Catholic school, you bring the ledger from red to black, by charging the charter school appropriate market value. With the additional funding you then support a thriving Catholic community beyond the length of the charter school day. Whether that thriving community be a vibrant faith formation program, community outreach, adult education, etc. Pragmatically speaking, it can work and has worked.
    At the same time, I am reminded by the stark words of Sister Karen Dietrich, executive director of the Catholic Partnership Schools. "Why should we sweep Jesus into the corner of the classroom?"
    I have extended that question to why should Jesus only be aired out after the school day is over? What does that say about our faith? Shouldn't we fight the fight for our faith as long as possible? When is pragmatic too pragmatic? Is it better to support struggling Catholic schools or pragmatically open up a charter school and, if so, when should this be done? These are the questions facing the leadership of our church. I don't have the answers and am only left with more questions.
    I do, however, have a 14-year-old daughter who began Paul VI High School this past fall as a freshman. I see her off every morning in a Catholic school uniform. She brings home a smile at the end of each day. I listen at the dinner table every night about her classes and once again there is a religious tone to the conversation which has been missing this past year from the Kindergartner who now attends public school. It's quite a different conversation involving St. Augustine and the self-revelation of God. My family has grown this year and it's a little different than a pre-K 4 theology who once brought binoculars to church in order to see God. But my home and heart feels fuller with Catholic schools once again in my life.

    Joseph Conway is the founder of Camden's Charter School Network.

  10. Back from Kiev
    guytalkingtostudents-webReno Domenico gives the global studies students at St. Joseph High School, Hammonton, a firsthand account of the political situation in Ukraine on Feb. 28. Domenico, husband of St. Joseph principal Lynn Domenico, is a 1966 graduate of the school who travels internationally for business and recently returned to the United States from Kiev, Ukraine.

    Photo by Alan M. Dumoff, more photos/

  11. Holy Spirit Hall holds Hall of Fame induction ceremony
    Holy Spirit High School in Absecon is hosting its fifth Annual Salute to the Spartans Bash Feb. 28 at the Golden Nugget Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.
    The 2013 Holy Spirit Hall of Fame inductees include Andy Solari '61, Michelle Malkin '88, and the championship 1976 boys crew team, with legendary coach Stan Bergman.
    Andy Solari, mayor of Brigantine, was a teacher and coach at Holy Spirit from 1966-69, and assistant football coach and co-head track coach. He is the chairman of the Brian Woods Memorial Scholarship Fund that provides scholarships for students attending Catholic high school.
    He is also the founder of "Water for Uganda," a nonprofit that drills wells in Uganda to enable clean and safe drinking water, and is a past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 7020, St. Thomas, Brigantine.
    Michelle Malkin is a New York Times best selling author, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, journalist (Los Angeles Daily News and the Seattle Times), and political commentator and contributer to the Fox News Channel. At Holy Spirit High School, she was editor of the Spirit student newspaper; a concert pianist; and valedictorian of her graduating class.
    The 1976 varsity 8 boys crew team, made up of Tim Maguire '77, Steve Brown '76, Bob White '77, Joe Welsh '77, Phil Guenther '76, Blair Foerster '76, Joe Bibik '76, Jim Millar '76, and Tom McDevitt '76, was the only Holy Spirit boat to be unbeaten in unofficial races, regular season races and championship regattas. The team received a Key to Atlantic City and was featured on ABC's Wide World of Sports.
    Proceeds from the event benefit Holy Spirit High School students.
  12. Prom Gown Drive to benefit Camden high school students
    Lourdes Medical Associates/Osborn Family Health Center - a primary and specialty care center that is part of the Lourdes Health System - is currently sponsoring its annual prom gown drive.
    Community members are invited to donate clean, wearable prom gowns or dressy cocktail-length dresses in all sizes that are then distributed to students at Dr. Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts High School in Camden. Prom accessories, including shoes, handbags and jewelry are also welcome.
    "Every young woman should feel beautiful at her prom and our gown drive helps give young women that experience they deserve," said Deborah Bokas, director of Social Services at Lourdes Medical Associates/Osborn Family Health Center. "Being able to recycle gowns is a good thing, but to give them to those families who may not have the means to purchase a brand new prom gown is all the better."
    The first prom gown drive drew in 100 gowns. Last year, 455 gowns were collected and given to students.
    Diane Hines-Cooper, seamstress and teacher at Dr. Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts High School, sets up times where parents can come with their daughters to choose gown and have them fitted.
    "When parents bring their daughters to choose a gown, they can't believe it's free," said Hines-Cooper. "Some parents are almost in tears. You can see the relief and appreciation in their faces. I always tell my students you don't live until you learn to give, and this is a great example of how much it means when people can work together to make a difference in the community."
    Prom gowns and accessories can be donated through April 15 at Lourdes Medical Associates/Osborn Family Health Center, 1601 Haddon Ave., Camden. Gowns can be dropped off at Osborn's reception area during business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday). For more information, contact Deborah Bokas, 856-757-3542.
  13. Museum of saints
    St. Cecilia, the patron of musicians - portrayed by Kendall DeVecchis, right - was among the many saints who made up a wax museum of saints at St. Michael the Archangel School, Clayton, on Jan. 29. The sixth and seventh graders dressed as dozens of holy men and women, from St. John the Baptist to Mother Teresa of Kolkata.

    Photos by Alan M. Dumoff

  14. Coats for the needy
    kidswithcoats-webPreK-4 students from John Paul II Regional School in Stratford, hold bags of coats the school collected during the month of January. They will be donated to the needy in Camden.

    Photo by James A. McBride

  15. Those expired coupons are still valuable
    WILLIAMSTOWN - Don't discard your expired manufacturers' coupons because military families overseas can still use them.
    Connie Smith, a mother from St. Mary School, helps coordinate a program that collects "expired and unwanted manufacturers' coupons for our nine adopted military families, one family for each grade from kindergarten through eighth," she said.
    Started a few years ago by Celeste Claggett of Oklahoma, Expired Coupons for Overseas Military collects these coupons in schools and on their Facebook site. "Channel 6 featured a story about ECOM a few years ago and that's how I got involved," said Smith. "I pitched the idea to my daughters' school and here we are today."
    She called it "a wonderful way to help our military families living overseas save money. and our adopted families are truly grateful."
    Jackie Kern, advancement director at the school, noted, "This is our second year that our students are collecting expired coupons for overseas military families who can use them up to six months after they expire."
    She said each grade is assigned a specific military family. "Our World Crusaders Club here at school also helps with the program as well. Connie Smith comes in every two months and collects the coupons, separates them, and ships them off to the individual military families."
    According to ECOM on its Facebook, those families living
    overseas who want coupons should
    e-mail the group at Those living in the States and would like to adopt a family should use the same e-mail.
    For more information contact Connie Smith at 856-740-2688. Or contact the organization at Expired Coupons For Overseas Military on Facebook.