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August 25, 2000


Schools bells will be ringing to welcome back to school students from throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Approximately 107,000 students will be returning to parish elementary and Archdiocesan high schools. Elementary schools will open on Wednesday, September 6th. The Archdiocesan high schools have developed individual opening week schedules and students will follow a phase-in schedule on September 6th, 7th and 8th. Full student bodies will be in attendance on Monday, September 11th.


According to statistics from the National Catholic Education Association, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has the second largest enrollment in the nation. Chicago is first and New York is third.

The demand for part time and full time kindergarten is ever increasing. Single parents, working couples and stay-at-home mothers and fathers regard pre-kindergarten and kindergarten as a way to prepare their children for a better education. Throughout the Archdiocese 118 schools have pre-kindergarten programs and 108 have kindergarten programs.

The five Port Richmond schools (St. Adalbert, Our Lady Help of Christians, Nativity, St. George and Mother of Divine Grace)
will share an art teacher and plan to have activities every month in which parents, students, faculty and administration of the five schools will participate. One activity being planned by Our Lady Help of Christians is a Fall Festival for families the weekend of September 29-30.

St. Martin of Tours School on Roosevelt Boulevard will be 75 years old. A special Mass and reception are planned for November 12, 2000, with an Open House. All parishioners are invited as well as former teachers and graduates.

Holy Spirit in South Philadelphia is adding a Fine Arts program that includes art, music and dance for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade; also, an after school Spanish program for students 6th through 8th grade.

Stella Maris School in South Philadelphia has expanded the computer lab and due to increased enrollment is opening another second grade.

St. Cecilia's in Fox Chase will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. There will be a special Mass on October 29th followed by an Open House

John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School, the oldest diocesan Catholic girls high school in the country, will celebrate its 100th Anniversary with a special Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul on September 26th at 8:30 a.m. Following the Mass, a fun day is planned for all students, including a talent show, games of sport, and refreshments.

Saint John Neumann High School in South Philadelphia welcomes a new president, Father Michael Olivere; a new school minister, Father Quan Tran; and a new theology teacher, Father James Otto. Comcast Cablevision is wiring the entire building for greater access to state of the art technology and is making it possible to install computer workstations in every classroom; students may participate in Neumann's CISCO Academy (Networking Specialist Certification Program).

Cardinal Dougherty High School is adding four new courses: Advanced Placement Spanish, Art, Theater, and Anatomy/Physiology. The school also upgraded four existing computer labs and increased the number of internet-available workstations to more than 200.

Mercy Vocational High School, the only Catholic vocational high school in the country, will celebrate its 50th Anniversary on Thursday, October 12.

St. Agnes-Sacred Heart in Hilltown
opens a new "state of the art" science lab thanks to the generosity of the Home & School Association and the Connelly Foundation.

Our Lady of Good Counsel in Southampton expanded its Fine Arts Program. It now includes multi-cultural and cross-curricular activities in Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Computer Graphics and introductory Spanish.

St. Thomas Aquinas in Croydon has a special parent/student project underway - painting Noah's Ark on the first floor corridor walls.

Holy Trinity in Morrisville added a new pre-kindergarten program and all of its classrooms and labs are Internet ready!

Our Lady of Grace in Penndel is expanding with a new half-day AM and PM kindergarten. Also a new Integrated Language Arts Program is being implemented.

Conwell-Egan Catholic High School will institute a Humanities Program whereby students will be exposed to inter-disciplinary modules which combine elements from standard academic courses with related arts instruction. Another innovating program Students and Teachers Achieving Results (STAR) is an academic enrichment program for students who have a desire to excel but may have experienced frustration and difficulties in the area of academics.

Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua will be on hand to bless St. Maximillian Kolbe's first school
on Sunday, September 17 at 3:00 p.m. The new $4.5 million complex has a capacity for 400 children.

Holy Family School in Phoenixville experienced a substantial increase in enrollment of approximately 100 students over the last two years. The recently renovated library becomes fully automated as a result of a generous grant, enabling the school to wire the entire building to bring internet access to the classrooms.

St. Patrick School in Kennett Square will kick off this school year with a "Back to School" Mass on September 9th at 5:00 p.m. The Mass will be followed by a night of clowns and a magic show.

St. Cornelius in Chadds Ford will be breaking ground in September for a new school building to be completed in September 2001.

St. Thomas the Apostle in Glen Mills is opening a new school building. The two-story structure will house 16 classrooms and offices and will enable them to eventually double their enrollment. Dedication of the new building will be on Tuesday, September 5th at 7:00 p.m.

Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown is expanding after only two years of moving to its current location. Construction began in July and work should be completed by September of 2001. The addition will increase the capacity to 1600 students and provided additional parking.

Notre Dame de Lourdes in Swarthmore
is once again planning projects for its service club "Kids for Kids in Jesus' Name." Last year more than 100 kids participated by preparing meals for the needy, reading to children in shelters, and collecting clothes.

St. Kevin's in Springfield has IMAC computers in every classroom, all internet accessible.

Saint Gabriel's in Norwood has added a full-day kindergarten program this year.

St. Andrew School in Drexel Hill is continuing their "Service Learning" projects. Last year they raised over $5,000 to aid in research for multiple sclerosis, and bought mittens, hats and scarves for the needy.

Archbishop Prendergast High School received a $135,000 grant from the Connelly Foundation for the establishment of a Fine Arts Center. This multi-disciplined Center will feature state of the art computer lab for use by related arts classes along with fine arts, chorus and orchestra classes.

Archbishop John Carroll High School is unveiling a new Business Technology curriculum for incoming freshman. Advanced placement Geography, advanced placement Environmental Science, and a new Journalism course is being added.

Two consolidated schools in Montgomery County are thriving due to combined efforts - Conshohocken Catholic School
(1996 consolidation of parish schools of St. Matthew, Ss. Cosmas and Damian and St. Mary) boasts a state of the art computer program, the addition of an art program and music program. Holy Trinity Catholic School (since 1998, serving the students of St. Augustine, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Sacred Heart parishes) boasts its own web site, two computer labs, a school band and music program, and a very active Home & School Association.

St. Mary School in Schwenksville Kindergarten class is seeing double with 4 sets of twins enrolled in their Kindergarten class. With only 50 students in the kindergarten class, this is amazing!

St. Alphonsus in Maple Glen is continuing their unbelievable service activities this year –last year they raised $9,800 for the Heart Association and $850 for a youth center in Romania.

Visitation B.V.M. in Norristown were winners of the KYW News Radio computer contest and recently received ten new computers. Also, this year Visitation will sponsor a Girls Junior Varsity Field Hockey team.

Lansdale Catholic High School will conclude its 50th anniversary this year with a Mass on October 15, followed by a dinner at the William Penn Inn.

Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School in Norristown offers all students drama, art, vocal, instrumental and music programs, as well as advanced placement classes. The school boasts a new state of the art technology lab.

Queen of the Universe Day Center in Levittown
is celebrating the school's 20th anniversary. For a service project, the students are raising a "Seeing Eye Puppy."

Students ages 15 to 21 from St. Katherine Day School in Wynnewood will attend classes at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor this fall as part of a program to enhance socialization and vocational opportunities. St. Katherine's is a school for special-needs students..

Last year, enrollment for parish elementary schools in the Archdiocese was 82,935. The enrollment for Archdiocesan high schools was 23,178. 2000-2001 enrollment figures will not be available until the end of October.

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Marie Kelly
Associate Director

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