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September 16, 2009

DePaul Catholic School Welcomes 100 New Students
to its School Community
Catholic School in Germantown Celebrates
Growing Enrollment and New Name

Philadelphia, Pa., September 11, 2009-Today, the Germantown and Catholic school communities will celebrate the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year with the DePaul Catholic School Renaming Ceremony and Opening Day Celebration. Formally known as St. Martin de Porres Interparochial School, DePaul Catholic School is the only Archdiocese of Philadelphia school serving the expansive inner city neighborhood of Germantown. DePaul Catholic School is welcoming 100 new students from the former Our Lady of Hope and St. Benedict Parish Schools. The renamed elementary school will now serve a total of 350 students and has enlarged the Catholic school community for Germantown and surrounding neighborhoods.

The DePaul Catholic School Renaming Ceremony and Opening Day Celebration will serve to unite the school community and celebrate the DePaul Catholic School's expanded and improved academic programs. The ceremony will feature remarks from Mary E. Rochford, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, students, school principal and Germantown church pastors.

"Our new name honors the humble beginning of our school and allows us to truly celebrate the great school that we have become under the guiding legacy of Saint Vincent de Paul," explained Sister Cheryl Ann Hillig, DePaul Catholic School Principal. "And while our name is new, our mission continues-- to provide local children with an excellent education that develops them academically, socially and spiritually."

According to Mary E. Rochford, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the school's name has changed, but DePaul Catholic School will uphold the same spiritual and rigorous academic environment.

"The former St. Martin de Porres Interparochial School has provided a strong and effective spiritual and academic program for their students," she said. "The students in this school are challenged to reach their personal best in all educational areas. I know that this same spirit will continue with the addition of many new students and the new school name."

DePaul Catholic School is a BLOCS-supported elementary school. BLOCS (Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools) is an independent charitable organization that provides scholarships to children in the Philadelphia region that wish to receive a quality education from a Catholic school.
"Children who have access to Catholic schools have an opportunity to receive an education that develops confidence to succeed in school, on the job and in life," said Mike O'Neill, chairman of BLOCS. "The DePaul Catholic School has continued to make that opportunity possible for the children of Germantown and for the former students of Our Lady of Hope and St. Benedict Parish Schools."

The DePaul Catholic School name change reflects the success of the groundbreaking St. Vincent de Paul-inspired Service-Learning program and to mark the implementation of a new academic program. The Service-Learning program gives every student the opportunity to learn and grow through the intrinsically educational experience of serving those in need. The new academic program at the school is highlighted by an educational after-school program for every student, two small classes for no more than 25 students for each grade, two full-time reading specialists and a full-time math specialist, full-time teacher's assistants in Kindergarten and 1st grade, full-time Spanish, Technology, Music and Art teachers, a full-time guidance counselor and a full-time campus minister to coordinate the innovative Service-Learning program.

The DePaul Catholic School's enrollment numbers have surged in recent years, indicating a desire among Philadelphia parents to enroll their children in a school where both their academic and spiritual needs are met. Enrollment at the school has increased almost 50% from the previous school year and almost 95% from 2001.

The DePaul Catholic School Renaming Ceremony and Opening Day Celebration will be a highly visual, outdoor event with 350 elementary school students. Photograph and interview opportunities will be available. Parking is available for members of the media in the parking lot adjacent to the school.

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BLOCS (Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools) is a dynamic group of area business leaders who care deeply about the state of education in our region. BLOCS believes that access to a high-quality education for children - especially those most in need - is crucial to the continued growth and success of our region. BLOCS' main focus is providing tuition scholarships to low income children. These scholarships provide the next generation of leaders with the tools to break the cycle of poverty - an excellent education, a sense of strong values and a belief that they can be successful in life.

Meredith Wilson
Communications Specialist

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