Groundbreaking ceremony marks beginning of The Holt Center project
On a sun-soaked April 11th morning, Holy Ghost Prep celebrated a landmark day in its 220-year history with a ceremony that served as both the groundbreaking for The Holt Center as well as the official naming of the building’s theater as the Frank Frederico Performing Arts Theater.
The ceremony, which took place at the future home of The Holt Center, was a true community event attended by the entire student body, HGP faculty, staff and administrators, members of the Holt family, Dominic Frederico ’00P, some local politicians, and members of the Holy Ghost Board of Trustees.
After a stirring rendition of the national anthem by Charles Lawall ’17 and a beautiful invocation by Rev. Christopher McDermott, C.S.S, Tony Geonnotti ’76, the chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees, officially welcomed the gathered guests to the groundbreaking ceremony.
Gregory J. Geruson ’79 then spoke to the crowd.
“Today, we start a new chapter for Holy Ghost Prep by breaking ground on what will be an incomparable building, The Holt Center,” Geruson said. “Once completed, The Holt Center will allow our students to hone their unique gifts in a collegiate caliber facility.”
The Holt Center will include the newly named Frank Frederico Performing Arts Theater as well as a multi-purpose gymnasium, music instruction rooms, and special training areas for baseball, track and field, golf, lacrosse, and rowing.
At the heart of Geruson’s remarks was heartfelt recognition of the generosity of two HGP families—the Holts and the Fredericos.
“The Holts have a deep and abiding love for Holy Ghost, its students, its faculty, and the values that the school instilled in them,” Geruson said. “Thanks to the Holt Family generosity, we are starting a new chapter in the history of Holy Ghost Prep, one that will propel our already great school to even greater heights.”
Thomas Holt, Jr. ’81 explained that the family’s naming gift for The Holt Center, the largest single gift in the school’s history, was simply a gesture to ensure that future HGP students have access to the same great education that 10 members of his family have enjoyed.
“What we learned here has shaped our lives every day since: Holy Ghost not only provided an outstanding education, it also challenged us to understand our place in the world and the expectations that would come from the advantages we enjoyed here,” Holt said. “We learned that because we had the benefit of a Holy Ghost education, we have an obligation to give back so that other young men might have the same opportunity. In the end, that’s what today’s groundbreaking is all about for us.
“Finally, I want to close by paying tribute once again to the man whose example I try to follow every day: my dad, Tom Holt Sr. It was his idea that we attend school here because he understood the value of a high quality Catholic education. And I know that he would have loved the chance to give back to Holy Ghost.”
Like the Holts, Dominic Frederico, a 1970 graduate of Monsignor Bonner and the father of HGP alum Frank Frederico ’00, has been a longtime supporter of Catholic education in the Philadelphia area and has been extremely generous to Holy Ghost Prep—giving of his time, talent and treasure to the school.
“Dominic, along with his wife Michele and his family, have clearly been dedicated to supporting HGP,” said Geruson. “Dominic previously created the Frank Frederico Student Investment Fund, to enable select Holy Ghost students to invest and manage real dollars in the stock market. To the best of our knowledge, there is only one other secondary school in the country that has a similar fund.
“Today, Dominic, along with his wife Michele, have given a $250,000 gift that will allow us to take our already strong performing arts program to reach even greater heights—and for this we are deeply grateful. Imagine a theater that will host musicals and dramatic plays. A space for lecture series, assemblies; to feature HGP music concerts; a theater with state of the art acoustics, lighting, and sound; where the entire performing arts program can grow and develop.”
Like the Holts, Dominic Frederico viewed his gift to name the theater in his son’s honor as a pay-it-forward gift, so that future students could enjoy the same first-rate Catholic education he received at Bonner and that his son Frank benefitted from at Holy Ghost Prep.
“I realize the importance of a Catholic education and the strong moral compass that it helps you set,” said Frederico. “I can’t tell you how many times in my life that I’ve faced very different challenges and very different opportunities, and I really believe that my Catholic education allowed me to make the right choices every step of the way.”
Following Frederico’s remarks, groups of dignitaries were happy to don hard hats and ceremoniously turn over the dirt to celebrate the start of construction.
In 2018, the group will reconvene at the same site for a different type of celebration, a ribbon cutting ceremony when the new Holt Center opens for business.