Dear HGP Parents:
Welcome to the first electronic version of our monthly mailings! This academic year, we are placing our monthly mailings online, replacing those large monthly envelopes. This new format will allow us to deliver monthly news more efficiently to our families each month and will help us save needed resources for the school and for our environment. Watch for further information about e-communication with families with our announcements for the September 24 Back to School Night Letter, a letter which will come to you via surface mail.
Anniversary & Service
This is a special anniversary year for HGP—our 50th as an independent day school, which we will kick off with the Annual Homecoming and Red Mass on September 12. In our school mission, we have a special focus on community and service, but a focus solidly supported by an emphasis on academic excellence. Appropriately, our faculty began this year with a day of reflection and service to local communities-the same places where our students serve. Our faculty visited sites from Germantown to Bensalem, joined this year by student service leaders from the senior class. Please see Mr. Fitzpatrick’s monthly service update in this issue for further details.
Academic Excellence & AP Standards
Good service and good citizenship depend on strong academic preparation. And one shining example of our ongoing commitment to high standards and academic excellence is our student success on the national standards demonstrated in the Advanced Placement Program.
Their achievement on these nationally referenced tests is both broad and deep. Like HGP, the College Board AP program also dates from the late 1950’s, a nice coincidence of academic histories. The AP courses create a core of academic excellence that we believe influences the entire curriculum from all of our academic courses through our honors courses and our electives.
On average, at least 60% of our graduating class achieves a college-certifying grade on an AP test during their careers at HGP. Overall, 165 HGP students sat for 318 AP tests in 22 subject areas last spring. Of that entire group of sophomores, juniors and seniors, 90% achieved a college-certifying grade; and 65% of the entire group achieved the two highest grades (4 and 5). Congratulations to the hard-working teachers and students in all of these AP classes and the classes which lead up to them!
Students at HGP today feel at home with a core curriculum that prepares them for college and creates more choices once they get there, whether elite liberal arts colleges, Ivies, state universities or respected regional schools. Their achievements lead to an impressive array of choices as our students move on to college. 92% of the Class of 2009 received some form of merit-based scholarship. The $18,200,000 in total awards offered to the class represents, on average, $155,000 per student. We are firm in our conviction that the strong preparation fostered in the classrooms of HGP allows students a greater range of curricular choices in college, from early admission to grad schools to demanding double majors.
True to the ideals of Spiritan Founder Claude Des Places, Holy Ghost Prep maintains a strong core curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences. While many schools have tilted, at one time or another, toward the classical, scientific, progressive or technological in their curricula, our school has insisted on both breadth and depth. There are choices in the upper year curricula, from histories of Egypt to creative writing to a wide range of science electives: genetics, ecology, astronomy, electronics, anatomy and physiology. The same standards for critical thinking pervade all of these choices.
News and Notes
Please also join us in welcoming Mr. Justin Sands to our faculty. Mr. Sands joins us this year after tech support work at Villanova and teaching at Cardinal O'Hara High School. He holds degrees in religion and philosophy from UNC and in theology (M. A.) from Villanova.
FATHERS OF SOPHOMORES, PLEASE LOOK FOR NEWS OF OUR THIRD ANNUAL SOPHOMORE FATHERS AND SONS RETREAT AND SERVICE DAY ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25. I DISTRIBUTED YOUR INVITATIONS TO YOUR SONS FROM MYSELF AND MR. ECKERLE.
Please also see Mr. Stewart's monthly update on our student-athletes as a new season gets underway.
In this special year, as always, thank you for the special trust you place in us for the education of your sons.
In One Heart and One Mind,
Michael A. O’Toole