HGP’s Montgomery program is aptly named and making a difference
Kevin Montgomery’s life was tragically cut short in 1998, but his memory will live on forever at Holy Ghost Prep—thanks to a simple but powerful gesture by his close friend Stephen Stunder ’98.
Montgomery passed away at the age of 17 from complications of a diabetic attack on January 21, 1998, but Stunder has never forgotten his friend who carried a 3.98 GPA and was set to attend Duquesne University that fall.
Montgomery was one of those students who dove into everything that Holy Ghost Prep had to offer—serving as the basketball team manager, singing in the school chorus and acting in school plays, performing service work for Habitat for Humanity, and even dressing up as the Firebird mascot for big games.
“Kevin was involved in everything at Ghost,” Stunder recalls. “We didn’t have a peer tutoring program back then. So Kevin found time to tutor his classmates and ended up being the driving force behind the creation of the Holy Ghost Prep National Honor Society tutoring program.”
The school remembered Montgomery in May 1998 when a tree was planted on the walkway to the Firebird Fieldhouse and was dedicated to his memory by the Class of 1998.
When Stunder, who now serves as director of counseling at Holy Ghost Prep, created a program that would provide extra support and intervention to enable HGP students to be successful from day one at the school, there was only one person to name it after.
“The program had to be named after Kevin,” Stunder says.
After meeting with Montgomery’s parents, the school was given the go-ahead to name the first-year program what Stunder wanted it to be named: the Montgomery program.
In its first year of existence, the Montgomery program currently serves seven members of the HGP Class of 2020. The program began for these students over the summer, as they participated in pre-ninth grade programs in math, English, and study skills. A plan of success was developed for each student and that plan is reviewed monthly by Stunder and each student’s teachers to make sure that the extra measures (which include a student assistance course, National Honor Society tutors, and Bucks County Intermediate Unit extra help, if needed) are working.
The early returns on the program have been quite positive. But ask Stunder what he’s proudest about regarding year one of the program, and it is clearly the fact that he was able to pay tribute to his late friend.
“Kevin Montgomery’s name will live on here,” Stunder says. “He epitomized selflessness and humility when he was a student here. Kevin was truly dedicated to helping others, especially his fellow classmates. He was the perfect person to name this program after.”