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September 1, 2004


In 1782, school bells rang welcoming students to St. Mary's School, considered the first parochial school in the United States, at 5th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia. More than 200 years later, students will return to parish elementary and Archdiocesan high schools in the five-county Archdiocese during the first week of September. The parish elementary schools open on Wednesday, September 8th. The Archdiocesan high schools have developed individual opening week schedules and students will follow a phase-in schedule on September 8th and 9th, with all students reporting on Friday, September 10th.


Two native sons will receive the 2004 Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) during a dinner October 4th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The Seton award is NCEA's highest honor, given in recognition of significant philanthropic or leadership contributions to Catholic education.

- Gerald J. Parsons of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania
Following his graduation from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in electrical engineering, Jerry Parsons joined his father and brother in founding Communications Test Design, Inc. The firm has grown steadily from an electronic depot repair company into an international telecommunications service provider with more than 2,400 employees in 30 locations worldwide. He serves as a member of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Board of Education, where he is chairman of the development committee. In 2003, he played an instrumental role in the development and launch of the Sponsor A Student Program, an archdiocese's tuition assistance program. He has served as president of the Bishop Shanahan High School advisory board, where his leadership was a key factor in building a new 1,600-student Catholic High School in Chester County, PA. He serves as co-chair of the building committee for the new Catholic education center and parish school for St. Elizabeth Catholic Parish in Upper Uwchlan Township.

- Most Reverend Francis B. Schulte, New Orleans, Louisiana
From his early days as an elementary schoolboy through Saint Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia, PA, Archbishop Francis B. Schulte's life has been centered on Catholic education. Ordained in 1952 as a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, his early assignments were as a teacher at Roman Catholic High School and Reading Central Catholic. He served for 20 years as Associate Superintendent and later as Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Philadelphia. He was ordained a Bishop in 1981. Archbishop Schulte has the distinction of being the first Catholic priest to serve as chairman of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1985, he was named Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, W.VA, and in 1989 he was installed as Archbishop of New Orleans. He served as Archbishop from 1989 until his retirement in 2002.


Opening Day Event for Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti High School (Two single sex high schools in South Philadelphia merged in June 2004)
On Wednesday, September 8th at 8:30 a.m.
A spectacular South Philadelphia Event is planned! The school President, Principal, Student Leaders and dignitaries from the Office for Catholic Education will meet on the grounds of the former Saint John Neumann High School (26th and Moore Streets) for a prayer service at 9:00 a.m. Following the prayer service, a Fairmount Park Trolley will take the group to 10th and Morris Streets where they will be met by members of Quaker City String Band. The Band will lead the group into the new high school auditorium (10th and Moore Streets). Ceremonies include surrendering the two former school flags and enshrining the new school flag, and merging two lit torches into one (signifying the merging of the two schools). After the ceremonies are finished (approximately 10:30 a.m.), a Pep Rally will be held and refreshments will be served.

Cardinal Dougherty High School Welcomes Class of 2008 with Prayer, Pageantry and Participation!
On Wednesday, September 8th at 8:00 a.m.

All Freshman students will attend an Opening Prayer Service in the courtyard in front of the school The Prayer Service begins with a procession of flags from 38 countries who make up the Dougherty community. All the Freshmen will then participate in a three-day orientation into the life at Cardinal Dougherty High School. They will learn new concepts and programs of high school life such as Intensive Scheduling, the Medical Careers Health Academy, the Catholic School Teachers Academy, the Communications and Technology Academy, and the Criminal Justice and Law Academy.
On Tuesday, September 14th, at 1:00 p.m., Coach Herman Boone, T. C. Williams High School football coach whose life, determination, and team building skills were featured in the full-length feature film "Remember the Titans," will inspire audiences with a presentation on respect, teamwork, community involvement and the importance of character.

Archbishop Wood High School in Bucks County
Thursday, September 2nd - 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Freshman Welcome Picnic
Friday, September 24th - 8:00 a.m. - Opening School Liturgy (scholarships presented and student council installation)


In Southwest Philadelphia, a new area Catholic school, Mary Mother of Peace, located at 64th and Buist Avenue, will serve the children of St. Barnabas, Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as the children in the new Divine Mercy Parish. (Divine Mercy Parish, located at 67th Street and Chester Avenue, was formed from the merger of St. Clement, Good Shepherd and St. Irenaeus Parishes in July, 2004). Sister Janet Walters, IHM, is the new principal.

New elementary school administrators
In Bucks County, there are new principals for Saint Ignatius and Saint Joseph-Saint Robert schools. Assumption BVM, Saint Basil the Great and Saints Simon and Jude welcome new principals in Chester County. New principals in the following Delaware County schools: Ss. Colman-John Neumann, St. Cornelius, St. Laurence and St. Pius X. Saint Anastasia welcomes a new vice-principal. Schools in Montgomery County welcoming new principals are: Sacred Heart, St. Eleanor, Holy Trinity, Our Lady Help of Christians, Queen of Peace and St. Rose of Lima. Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, welcomes a new vice-principal. Schools in Philadelphia with new principals are: St. Bartholomew, St. Dominic, Incarnation, St. Martin of Tours, St. Mary of the Assumption and Our Lady of Confidence. St. Cecilia and St. Martin of Tours also have a new vice-principals .


In Delaware County: Ms. Eileen Kearney, a teacher at St. Francis of Assisi School in Springfield, Delaware County, will be presented the Susan Lucas Award for outstanding teaching by the Delaware County Historical Society at a luncheon at the Springhaven Country Club on September 15.

In Montgomery County: "The Scanner Patrol" - In June of 2004, Ryan McDevitt of Visitation BVM School in Trooper, PA, Alyse Ameer and Jodie Leyfert of St. Aloysius School, Pottstown, PA, and Alexa Tietjen of Wyndcroft School won top prize of $25,000 in the Christopher Columbus Foundation Competition held in Disney World. The team proposed an invention - an allergy scanner - which would instantly allow persons with food allergies to accurately detect the allergen they are allergic to in products. The $25,000 grant was vested in the Siemens Company and The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American to develop this product. St. Catherine of Siena in Horsham, opens a new Pre-K program for children 4 years of age. The program is held three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

In Chester County: St. Monica School in Berwyn is opening its new playground on Tuesday, September 7 at 12 noon. Father William Trader, pastor, will bless the playground and a picnic lunch will be served to the students.

In Bucks County: St. Andrew School in Newtown is starting a Bagpipe Band! (very appropriate since St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland!) The bagpipe instructor will be at the school on September 8th, to play the bagpipes as the students enter the school for the first time this academic year. Holy Trinity School in Morrisville will celebrate a Mass for the New School Year at 9:00 a.m. on September 8th. At 7:00 p.m. the school will host a New Parent Tea, welcoming parents of new students.

In Philadelphia: St. Bernard School in Mayfair is hosting a First Day Celebration to be held on Friday, September 10. Parents are invited to accompany their children to school, attend opening school Mass at 8:30 a.m. and a breakfast social held in the school gym. St. Timothy School, also in Mayfair, is celebrating 75 years of Catholic Education and are planning a new Enrichment Program for the students. St. Veronica Parish and School in North Philadelphia is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A Mass of Thanksgiving will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2004 at 5:00 p.m. to honor the Sisters for 100 years of faithful service to the parish.


Elementary Schools: 202 parish elementary schools (80 in Philadelphia, 122 in suburban counties)
Elementary school enrollment for the 2003-2004 school year: 72,752
Archdiocesan High Schools: 21 (10 in Philadelphia, 11 in suburban counties)
Archdiocesan High School Enrollment for the 2003-2004 school year: 22,726

(Enrollment figures for the 2004-2005 school year will not be available until November 2004)


Marie Kelly
Associate Director

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