Bonner, Prendergast Win Appeal
West Philadelphia Catholic High School and Conwell-Egan Catholic High School will also remain open.
The auditorium erupted with cheers and tears of happiness came down on many faces when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Friday afternoon that Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High Schools would remain open.
Hundreds gathered at the auditorium to watch a feed from the live press conference from the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center Auditorium in Philadelphia.
Rev. James Olson, president of the Drexel Hill schools, told the jammed-packed auditorium at Bonner—which was filled with students, parents and alumni—that it was a great victory.
“We are here, we will stay here and we are better than ever,” Olson shouted as the students and alumni cheered and clapped their hands.
He also surprised them with news that Chestnut Hill College and Neumann University will offer college-credit courses that students can take at Bonner and Prendergast.
But he also said that there is a lot of work to do for everyone.
“Registration starts tonight,” Olson said to the cheering crowd. “There is nobody better at recruiting than you.”
Jim Catrambone, the director of Institutional Advancement and coordinator of Stewardship at the schools, said it would be difficult but not impossible to enroll new students for the school year.
“We are in a race to get students,” he told the Haverford-Havertown Patch.
Usually by March the schools would have completed their registrations of new students, but no one has been registered yet, Catrambone explained. Mainly because the Blue Ribbon Commission recommended in January that the two schools, including West Philadelphia Catholic High School and Conwell-Egan Catholic High School, to be closed. All four schools won the appeal on Friday afternoon.
But Catrambone said that he felt, “very confident and very hopeful that we will welcome new people.”
The schools' Senior Coordinator of Stewardship Kimberly Kelly has given Patch application forms for those interested in attending Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High schools next school year. The forms are accompanying this article as PDFs and can be found under the pictures.
Many Reflect On Emotional Journey
Olson told Patch that the entire ordeal has been very “up and down” for everyone, but he was happy that the two schools would remain open.
“This day will mark the rebirth of Bonner and Prendie,” he said.
For Dan Ahearn, the day also meant he could graduate with a peace of mind.
“It’s just a great feeling that I will be able to graduate from these two great schools,” the senior student said, who is from Havertown. He is one of 59 students from the two schools who live in Havertown.
Tricia Scepansky, of Drexel Hill, said that her two children go to the schools and one more will be attending next year. She echoed Olson’s feeling that it was an emotional situation.
“You have no idea what we have been through,” she told Patch. “Seven weeks ago we felt so low and seven weeks later we feel so high.”
For junior Maggie Griendling, it was a moving time for her as well.
“I cried, but they were tears of happiness. I’m very excited to be spending my last year here,” the young Havertown resident said.
Many of the people who were leaving after the press conference were hugging each other and the euphoria was contagious. But many credited Olson for helping them during the last seven weeks.
“Anytime I had doubt, I leaned on Father Olson,” said 1985 alumni Jane Magee, of Havertown. “He made me to keep believing.”