News & Events
Holy Ghost Prep's bowling team continued its 2016-17 dominance as John Schrenk (left) and Ryan Callahan (right) faced one another for the BAL singles title on Feb. 15.
HGP bowls over the competition
Following an undefeated Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) regular season, Holy Ghost Prep continued its bowl over the competition at the league championships Feb. 15 at the Earl Bowl Lanes in Franconia.
The BAL singles championship turned out to be an all-Holy Ghost affair as junior co-captains John Schrenk and Ryan Callahan both reached the finals. Schrenk edged his teammate and close friend Callahan, 226-170 in the final—capping off a magical league season for the Firebirds as both bowlers took home trophies that day.
“We accomplished just about everything we set out to do. If we had a checklist at the beginning of the season, they’ve checked off just about every box,” says Tom Eckerle. “These guys should be proud of themselves. They made their coaches proud, school proud, and the BAL proud too.”
Not surprisingly, the Firebirds, the dominant force in the BLA this winter, captured the league’s most coveted hardware with Schrenk earning BAL boys Bowler of the Year and Eckerle getting BAL boys Coach of the Year honors.
“Our bowlers have come together and took command of the league from the get-go. This is evident by their undefeated league season,” says Holy Ghost Prep athletic director Jim Stewart.
“To have the Bowler of the Year and Coach of the Year from HGP is truly special. Coach Eckerle is a terrific motivator and keeps the game fun for his players. John Schrenk is a true talent and will only get better. We look forward to watching John succeed even more during his senior season in 2017-18!”
Next up for the Firebirds will be Eastern Regionals in Lancaster in early March. Holy Ghost has qualified as a team and will also have four individuals competing in the singles competition: seniors Dan Reifsnyder and John Wisniewski, along with the duo who met for the BAL singles title (Schrenk and Callahan).
Holy Ghost Prep sophomore Jack Pinkstone recently built a fully-functioning prosthetic hand for a child. He plans to teach other HGP students how to do it in order to assist more children in need.
Lending a helping hand
When Holy Ghost Prep sophomore Jack Pinkstone recently showed him the fully-functioning prosthetic hand he had built in his spare time, Mike Jacobs ’01 was equal parts surprised and yet not surprised.
“I was shocked by how great the hand looked and functioned,” said Jacobs, HGP’s director of technology. “But I was not surprised at all that Jack put something like this together.”
Pinkstone’s parents showed their son an article about Dr. Chris Craft, a STEM teacher in South Carolina who had issued a challenge to kids across the country to build prosthetic hands for children in need. To read more about Dr. Craft’s Hand Challenge, click here.
The project was tailor-made for Pinkstone, who became interested in STEM projects as an eighth grader at Pennwood Middle School in Pennsbury. In order to feed that passion, Pinkstone bought his own 3-D printer kit a couple years ago, built that printer himself, and has continually upgraded that printer by making new parts for it on you guessed it, that very same printer.
“I had used the 3-D printer to make fun objects,” said Pinkstone. “But my parents showed me that article and I immediately realized that I could use my 3-D printer and design skills to help children in need. And it was a fun service-type project too.”
After reading the article, Pinkstone went to the website and bought the prosthetic hand kit online for 25 dollars, then downloaded and printed the parts to the hand and then assembled the hand.
“It comes with strings, wires and tips and you have to put it together,” said Pinkstone. “There are videos online to show you how to assemble each piece of the hand. It took about 10 hours to print out all of the parts and then about 90 minutes to two hours for me to assemble the hand.”
The prosthetic hand is triggered by the wrist. Once the wrist moves, the fingers clench together. The kit comes with Velcro and foam, so that the hand can be attached to the child in need’s arm.
Now that he’s successfully completed and mailed off his first hand, Pinkstone and Jacobs have bigger plans in mind. They plan to team up work with Holy Ghost Prep’s director of campus ministry Mark Whartenby and math/science teacher Mike Pappadakis to assemble a team of HGP students to build even more prosthetic hands. Dr. Craft, the founder of the Hand Challenge, offers a $10 discount for schools who build hands. So the total cost per hand would be roughly 20 dollars ($15 to purchase the kit and $5 for the filament), according to Pinkstone.
“Jack is obviously blessed with engineering, science, and math skills. And those 21st century skills that we often talk about developing here at Holy Ghost—critical thinking, communications and collaboration skills, and creative problem solving skills—Jack has those in spades.
“If we start this club, the kids can get some community service hours and Jack can develop some leadership skills by teaching other HGP students how to build the hands. It’s important, in my opinion, that Holy Ghost Prep helps Jack over the next couple years to grown into a leader.”
In addition to the growth of his leadership skills, Jacobs is excited to witness what Pinkstone will accomplish once Holy Ghost Prep completes the first phase of building a STEM Tower in Cornwells Hall this summer with the conversion of the lower level classroom and storage area (approximately 2,000 square feet) into a state-of-the-art maker space.
“That will be the perfect learning space for Jack and other students like him,” says Jacobs.
Starting this April, Pinkstone will undoubtedly be one of the leaders of Holy Ghost Prep’s new Vex Robotics team that will be coached by Pappadakis and new computer science instructor Brandon Petcaugh. Pinkstone has competed for a First Robotics team for three years now, but looks forward to building HGP’s team.
“Competing in First Robotics, I’ve learned CAD (Computer-Aided Design), website management, and how to code and wire the robots,” says Pinkstone. “And I’ve also printed out parts for the robots on my 3-D printer and installed them.”
Another one of Pinkstone’s outside-the-classroom hobbies is Codec Films, the videography production company that he founded along with fellow HGP students Matt Davies and Ted Ciarciello. The trio has done several projects for Holy Ghost Prep—including an aerial drone tour of the campus and a Class of 2020 freshman orientation video—and have used that high-quality work to land outside clients including Grey Nun Academy, a Pre-K through 8th grade school in Yardley, and St. Andrew Catholic Church in Newtown, Pa.
“Nothing Jack does really shocks me anymore,” says Jacobs. “He’s got a rare skill set."
Nine members of the Holy Ghost Prep chorus performed with the All-Catholic Chorus on Sunday, February 5th at Bishop Shanahan High School.
Nine HGP students earn All-Catholic Chorus honors
Nine members of the Holy Ghost Prep chorus performed with the All-Catholic Chorus on Sunday, February 5th at Bishop Shanahan High School. The guest conductor for the weekend festival was Jayne Glocke from Pennsylvania State University.
Two Holy Ghost students, Noah Tapp and David Connuck, received awards for four years of participation in All-Catholic Chorus. Senior Charles Lawall was chosen as a soloist.
“It should be noted that the All-Catholic Chorus is an ensemble with 100 students, 50 of whom are boys,” said Beth Vilsmeier, the music director at Holy Ghost Prep. “Holy Ghost, with nine students (selected), represents a significant percentage of the singers.”
The HGP members who earned All-Catholic Corus honors were Noah Tapp, Charles Lawall, Brandon Cimino, Collin Cimino, Patrick Oniate, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jeffrey DiFrancesco, David Connuck, and Patrick Byrnes.
John Burke is one of four freshmen students who are attending Holy Ghost Prep through the Maguire Independent Schools Scholars program—the others being Nicholas LaRosa, Shane Love, and Joseph Tufo.
Maguire Scholar profile: John Burke ’20
A few weeks prior to Christmas 2015, John and Suzanne Burke received the good news that their son John had been chosen as a Maguire Foundation scholar.
The scholarship would allow their son John, then a straight-A student at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, to attend the high school of his dreams, Holy Ghost Prep.
The parents agreed to keep the scholarship news under wraps. The plan was to unveil it as an additional Christmas present for John. But as the shopping days until Christmas 2015 began to dwindle, they noticed that their son was getting anxious and decided to deviate from their original plan.
“I can laugh about it now,” says Holy Ghost Prep freshman John Burke. “But at the time, I knew of some other kids who had applied and gotten Maguire scholarships and I hadn’t gotten any word yet. I was starting to worry that I didn’t make the cut.”
It turned out he had nothing to worry about. His parents handed him the acceptance letter, and Burke has been smiling ever since.
“I wouldn’t be here at Holy Ghost Prep, receiving an exceptional education, without the generosity of the Maguire Foundation,” said Burke. “Coming to this school is a dream come true.”
He has been a valued member of the Holy Ghost community from the day he arrived on campus from his Northeast Philadelphia home.
“John is an amazing young man,” says Ryan Abramson ’94, Holy Ghost Prep’s director of admissions. “From his first day at HGP he clearly sought to take advantage of the opportunity to come to school here. He has a keen understanding of the sacrifice his family makes for him to be an HGP student and a humble recognition that the best way he can repay that sacrifice is to use his outstanding gifts to contribute to our community.”
Burke, whose cousin Michael Smith will be a HGP freshman next fall, truly personifies the Maguire Foundation’s “Six Steps to Success.” He is not only making an impact in the classroom and as a point guard on Holy Ghost’s freshman basketball team, but he fully understands the importance of setting goals and then working hard to achieve them (thanks to the example set by his parents) and of serving others (a lesson he learned by supporting his brother Tony).
Tony has autism and attends the Comprehensive Learning Center (CLC). John Burke has run 5K races for the AJ Foundation, which raises money for his brother’s school, and has participated in competitive run/swims at his local swim club to raise money for a junior lifeguard’s program which helps children with developmental and physical disabilities.
“John Burke embodies qualities well beyond his years as a student-athlete: mental toughness, listening, sportsmanship, determination and leadership,” says Holy Ghost Prep athletic director Jim Stewart, who serves as Burke’s coach on the ninth-grade basketball team. “He is a respectful young man with a very bright future ahead of him. It is a pleasure to coach John.”
Burke is one of four students in the Class of 2020 who are attending Holy Ghost Prep through the Maguire Independent Schools Scholars program—the others being Nicholas LaRosa, Shane Love, and Joseph Tufo.
Holy Ghost Preparatory School is a partner with the Maguire Foundation, a philanthropic enterprise founded by James J. and Frances Maguire in October, 2000 that focuses its resources on education. The Maguire Foundation provides grants to grade school, high school, and college students so that they may have an opportunity to benefit from a quality education. As part of this exceptional program, Maguire scholars are required to achieve benchmarks in academics, class attendance, and community service participation.
“We are so grateful for our relationship with the Maguire Foundation,” says Holy Ghost president Gregory J. Geruson ’79. “Their philanthropy has allowed four tremendous young men—John, Nicholas, Shane, and Joseph—to be a part of and thrive within our Holy Ghost Prep community. We are looking forward to welcoming future Maguire scholars in the years to come.”
Holy Ghost Prep's speech and debate team performed extremely well at the 42nd annual University of Pennsylvania Tournament.
HGP’s forensics team enjoys strong showing at Penn
Holy Ghost Prep’s young speech and debate team appears to be peaking at just the right time.
At this past weekend’s 42nd annual University of Pennsylvania Tournament, juniors Luke Muller and Colin Landers took home first place in duo interpretation.
“I’m proud of their focus, dedication, attitude,” says Tony Figliola, who has run the highly successful forensics program for decades. “They understand process and they have talent.”
In addition, junior Jacob Riti finished third in original oratory, while junior Shane McHugh and senior Brian Gabriele were semifinalists in the congressional debate and dramatic interpretation categories, respectively.
Other impressive performances were turned in by senior Albert Wilson (quarterfinalist in extemporaneous speaking), sophomore Matt Davies (quarterfinalist in humorous interpretation) and the team of senior Jon Mann and junior Mason El-Habr (a top-16 finish out of 150 teams in varsity public forum debate)
“For the most part, we are building from the ground up. So when Albert Ramirez makes a varsity final round, and it’s just his second tournament, things are looking great for next year,” says Figliola of his young team.
“When kids here try out for the basketball team, they know how to dribble and shoot. We have to start with the basics. Sometimes, it takes months just getting new members to stand still! But when they experience their ‘ah-ha’ moments, it's all worthwhile.”
Holy Ghost Prep welcomed Dr. Phillip Kendall (pictured), the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University, to discuss the development of the teenage mind on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.
HGP hosted expert on the development of the teenage mind
As part of its 2016-17 Parent Education Series, Holy Ghost Prep welcomed Dr. Phillip Kendall, the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology and director of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University, to discuss the development of the teenage mind on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.
Kendall's visit offered parents the chance to learn about teen depression and anxiety from one of the area’s leading experts on the subject. Dr. Kendall provided HGP parents with a window into the teenage psyche in hopes of closing the gap between the teenager and parent.
Dr. Kendall is an active researcher, scholar and clinician. His CV lists over 450 publications, including over 30 books, and over 20 treatment manuals and workbooks. His treatment programs have been translated into dozens of languages, and he has had over 30 years of uninterrupted grant support from various agencies. Having received many thousands of citations per year, he placed among an elite handful of the most “highly cited” individuals in all of the social and medical sciences. In a recent quantitative analysis of the publications by and citations to all members of the faculty in the 157 American Psychological Association approved programs in clinical psychology, Dr. Kendall ranked fifth.
Dr. Kendall has garnered prestigious awards: Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, inaugural Research Recognition Award from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, “Great Teacher” award from Temple University, identified as a “top therapist” in the tri-state area by Philadelphia Magazine, and a named chair and Distinguished University Professorship at Temple University.
Dr. Kendall was the third speaker in Holy Ghost Prep’s 2016-17 Parent Education Series—following Dr. Colleen Hanycz, the president of La Salle University, who discussed the importance of developing grit back on Sept. 27, and Dr. Scott Warnock, an associate professor from Drexel University who discussed the integration of educational technology on November 16.
Seven former Holy Ghost Prep student-athletes were inducted into HGP Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, January 28 at the Maltese Room in Bensalem. (photo by Don Otto/Catalano Studio)
Getting their Hall pass
Seven former Holy Ghost Prep student-athletes were inducted into HGP Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, January 28 at the Maltese Room in Bensalem.
The event drew the biggest crowd in the history of the HGP Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony, according to athletic director Jim Stewart. Each new HGP Hall of Famer receives a plaque and a Hall of Fame scarf and is presented for induction by a coach or classmate.
The seven former standouts that comprise the 2017 HGP Athletic Hall of Fame induction class are:
Vince Drybala ’72, track and field
Bill Blesi ’95, soccer
Nelson Redante ’95, baseball
Grant Holdren ’99, basketball and baseball
Dennis Murray ’06, lacrosse
Nick Seravalli ’08, ice hockey
Joe Gunerman ’10, golf
In addition, Holy Ghost Prep’s 1970 P.C.I.A.A. track and field championship team was recognized as a “Team of Distinction” at the ceremony.
Led by returning first-team All-Bicentennial League (BAL) performers John Schrenk (pictured) and Ryan Callahan, the Holy Ghost Prep bowling team won its first league title in three years.
HGP’s bowling team is on a roll
Led by a pair of returning first-team All-Bicentennial League (BAL) performers in co-captains John Schrenk and Ryan Callahan, the Holy Ghost Prep bowling team currently sports an impressive 13-1 overall record, including a perfect 11-0 mark in the BAL.
With its 3-1 defeat of Devon Prep on February 1, HGP clinched the school's first league crown in three years.
Tom Eckerle’s BAL title-winning team is guaranteed a spot in the Eastern Regionals in March, thanks in large part to the tremendous skill and leadership of the team’s dynamic captain duo of Schrenk and Callahan, both juniors.
Schrenk will be honored as the Bucks County Courier Times Athlete of the Week on Feb. 6 for his clutch performances in a week during which Schrenk averaged 215 in three matches, and an even higher 236 average in matches against league rivals Bristol High School and Dock Mennonite School. His 737 series against Dock included games with eye-popping scores of 242, 226 and 269. The 737 series is believed to be a school and BAL record.
“John shows tremendous leadership in how he deals with success and adversity. He is always trying to help younger/less experienced bowlers,” says Eckerle, an HGP social studies teacher who coaches the Firebirds. “He wants nothing more than for the team to have success. He finished second in the BAL averages last year and in our BAL singles tournament, so this has been building. But he has taken his game to stratospheric levels at times this year.”
Like Schrenk, Callahan is in his second year as one of the Firebirds' bowling co-captains.
“The two of them (Schrenk and Callahan) are very good pals,” says Eckerle. “Callahan is California cool and is second only to Schrenk in the BAL in average. Both guys lead by scores as well as by example and dedication.”
In addition to Schrenk and Callahan, the HGP bowling team also features a third returning all-league performer in senior John Wisniewski. He earned second-team All-BAL honors in 2016 and is currently fifth in the BAL in average. If that weren’t enough firepower on one team, HGP’s Dan Reifsnyder is currently 11th in the BAL in average.
Holy Ghost Prep hired Brandon Petcaugh as a computer science teacher, effective February 6th.
HGP hires Brandon Petcaugh as a computer science teacher
Holy Ghost Prep hired Brandon Petcaugh as a computer science teacher, effective February 6th. He joined Holy Ghost from New Foundations Charter School where he served as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) coordinator, computer science teacher and robotics moderator.
For the remainder of the year, Petcaugh will work alongside Mike Jacobs and Mike Pappadakis in several different computer science classes.
"With his extensive experiences in Project Lead the Way, Brandon will help grow our computer science department, STEM initiatives, as well as with our robotics classes and club," says Holy Ghost Prep principal Jeff Danilak. "Brandon will be a great fit as he helps round out our computer science team."
The HGP chess team sits atop the Lower Bucks County Scholastic (LBCS) Chess League. The Firebirds lead the league in total boards won, notching 32 wins in their 35 total chess matches.
Holy Ghost Prep enjoys chess success
One of Holy Ghost Prep’s successful teams doesn’t play on a court or a field. And it doesn’t compete in front of hundreds of loud, screaming Firebird fans either.
This championship-caliber team plays a classic board game, where strategic knowledge, commitment, and perseverance have guided it to success in a relatively short period of time.
Following its 5-0 win over Father Judge on Jan. 26, the Holy Ghost chess team sits atop the Lower Bucks County Scholastic (LBCS) Chess League. The Firebirds lead the league in total boards won, notching 32 wins in their 35 total chess matches.
Coached by HGP teacher Tom Murtaugh, the members of the chess team are Tom Barbaro (team captain), Andrew Somogyi, David DeAngelo, Tom Xiao, Matt Young, Owen Sienko, and Dino Cerquetelli. The team’s season runs from mid-November through mid-March, and the Firebirds have one match per week (10 regular season matches) and also practice once a week.
Nine years ago, Murtaugh was approached by an enthusiastic student named John Ciecka, who wanted to re-establish a chess club at HGP.
“He came in the next day with chess sets he purchased himself,” Murtaugh recalls. “We ran a tournament that year among students and faculty and (HGP principal) Mr. (Jeff) Danilak even competed.
“Chess remained a casual intramural school activity until last school year when we joined the LBCS Chess League. Once again, our decision to join the league was driven by an enthusiastic student, Tom Barbaro, who came to HGP as an experienced chess competitor. He has been a great team leader sharing his expertise with his fellow teammates.”
Murtaugh sees real-life benefits for the HGP students competing on his chess team.
“The main benefits of playing chess for other aspects of life would be strategic thinking and problem solving which are 21st century skills that are becoming increasingly valued in today’s changing job market and also skills we try to instill in all of our students at Holy Ghost,” says Murtaugh.
Ghost Stories is an online newsletter for alumni, parents, and students of Holy Ghost Prep.
Sixteen HGP student artists have their work displayed in two Bucks County exhibits, the Phillips Mill Youth Art Exhibit in New Hope and the "Emergence" show in Bristol (the "Emergence" artists are pictured here).
16 Holy Ghost Prep artists exhibit their work in Bucks County
Sixteen HGP student artists have their work displayed in two Bucks County exhibits, the Phillips Mill Youth Art Exhibit in New Hope and the “Emergence” show in Bristol, during January and February of 2017.
The Phillips Mill Youth Art Exhibit is in its fourth year. This community gallery, located in New Hope, Pennsylvania, invites schools within a 30-mile radius of “the mill” to participate. The show is adjudicated and prizes are awarded in several categories. This year, Daniel Pawluczyk, Cooper Pandorf, Callahan Lennon, Dante DeSanctis, Kevin Dineen and Jacob Lawall will exhibit in the painting, mixed media and drawing categories. HGP senior Daniel Pawluczyk won honorable mention for his acrylic painting. The reception is Saturday, January 21, 2017. The show runs consecutive weekends through mid-February.
The first-ever student show at Centre for Arts, located on Mill Street in Bristol, Pennsylvania, is called “Emergence.” This is an exciting opportunity for 10 HGP artists who have works on display in the categories of painting, intaglio printmaking, and relief printmaking. The exhibitors are Garrison Moore, Christopher Aileo, Austin Moran, Owen Yake, Jack LaRosa, Luke Wade, Eric Lorenzo, Patrick Oniate, Piotr Cymbalski, and Xincheng (Jack) Zhou. Prizes were awarded and artists recognized at a reception on Thursday evening, January 19, 2017.
In addition to Holy Ghost Prep, the art exhibit featured works from student artists representing Bensalem, Bristol, Harry S. Truman, Conwell-Egan, Nazareth Academy and Neshaminy High Schools. Junior Christopher Aileo received a best in show award at the “Emergence” reception for his linoleum print work, while senior Eric Lorenzo earned an all-honorable mention selection from the judges for his oil painting.
Mrs. Karen Smallen is the visual art teacher and chair of the fine arts department at Holy Ghost Prep.
On January 16, several groups of Holy Ghost Prep students participated in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by working at the Saint Katherine Drexel Shrine.
HGP students participate in annual MLK Day of Service
On January 16, several groups of Holy Ghost Prep students participated in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by helping the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament just down Bristol Pike prepare for their impending move from the Saint Katherine Drexel Shrine.
Members of the HGP swim team and assistant coach Tom Farrell, members of the Holy Ghost lacrosse team and head coach Ryan Tessler, along with other students and Holy Ghost’s director of campus ministry and service Mark Whartenby helped the sisters prepare for their move by tidying up storage areas, moving books, and cleaning up outside the residences of some of the elderly sisters.
“We’re trying to provide our students with more project-based service opportunities that help our neighbors and our local community,” said Whartenby.
“Saint Katherine Drexel literally paid for the building (Cornwells Hall) where I work, so I thought it would be perfect to honor our history and Martin Luther King’s life of service by helping the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament who have been great neighbors to us.”
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans take part in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service as a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps empower and strengthen local communities.
Vince Hausmann, Ph.D., a former Holy Ghost Prep teacher during the mid-1980s, passed away on January 9 from lung cancer at the age of 57.
In Memoriam: Former HGP teacher Vince Hausmann
Vince Hausmann, Ph.D., a former Holy Ghost Prep teacher who went on to become an award-winning English professor at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., passed away on January 9 from lung cancer at the age of 57.
Hausmann taught British literature, world literature, academic writing, and freshman honors English at Holy Ghost Prep from 1984-1987. In addition, he moderated the HGP school newspaper, coached tennis, and judged forensics competitions.
“Vince was a genius,” says Tony Figliola. “He was a tough teacher, but inspiring. He challenged kids to be better than they thought they could be.”
Peter Naccarato ’88, the interim associate dean for academic affairs at Marymount Manhattan College in New York, was among those at Holy Ghost Prep truly inspired by Hausmann.
“Vince Hausmann was a very dear friend and his death is a real loss for me and for the many students whose lives he touched over his long career as a teacher at both the high school and college levels. I took several classes with Vince, including British literature and world literature and they were transformative for me,” Naccarato recalls. “It was in Vince’s classroom that I realized that I wanted to become a teacher – I wanted to do what he did! With his help and guidance, I completed my degree in English at Villanova and then went on the graduate school, earning my Ph.D. in English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Vince was not only an initial inspiration for my chosen career path, he was also a mentor and guide at every step along the way.”
Hausmann was a champion for social justice and human rights who loved art, film, literature, fashion, and spending what he called “quantity time” with friends and his sister’s family. Hausmann deplored cars—his preferred mode of transportation was walking—and he was terrified of mice to the point that he could not even watch Disney/Pixar’s 2007 film Ratatouille.
Hausmann left Holy Ghost Prep in 1987 to pursue his Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr College. Once armed with his doctorate, Hausmann became an associate professor of English at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., where he taught cinema studies and literary theory. He wrote a critically acclaimed book entitled Cinema, Technologies of Visibilities, and the Reanimation of Desire. Hausmann was also published on Bernardo Bertolucci, Joseph Conrad, and Paul Bowles, and co-edited the Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature.
“As many students from HGP and Furman University are sharing memories of Vince on Facebook, I’m reminded of how inspiring it was to sit in his classroom,” Naccarato says. “He was an amazing teacher who was able to balance perfectly pushing students in their thinking and giving them positive encouragement. Whether responding to a student’s comment during class discussions or to a student’s paper, Vince always began with positive feedback but then found just the right way to push the student further to deepened his analysis and sharpen his thinking.
“Vince was also a role model for pushing boundaries and not accepting the status quo—he insisted that his students think critically and use the study of literature to interrogate the world around them. He was a champion for social justice, human rights, and equality and he modeled how teaching could play a crucial role in advancing them.”
A 1977 graduate of Bishop Neumann High School (now Neumann-Goretti High School) in South Philadelphia, Hausmann majored in English at Villanova University, and then earned both his masters degree and Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College.
A memorial gathering in honor of Vince Hausmann will be held on Sunday, February 12th at the Wyndham Alumnae House at Bryn Mawr College. All are welcome.
Having already raised $4,000 with its annual CARES Walk, Holy Ghost Prep will hold its Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on January 21 to raise more money for cancer research.
Holy Ghost Prep raises money for Coaches vs. Cancer
During a January 18th morning assembly, Holy Ghost Prep's Tony Chapman and Jim Stewart presented Coaches vs. Cancer's Bill Campo with a check for $4,000.
The money was raised during Holy Ghost Prep’s 12th annual CARES Walk and will benefit Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and college and high school basketball coaches that empowers basketball coaches, their teams, and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.
Holy Ghost Prep’s partnership with Coaches with Cancer will continue when HGP hosts a basketball marathon of games this Saturday, January 21, beginning at 10 a.m. There will be six games total that day, including a CYO tripleheader beginning at noon featuring area seventh and eighth grade programs.
In addition, promotional t-shirts, pink socks, and wristbands will be available for purchase. A basketball signed by all of the City 6 men’s basketball coaches—Villanova’s Jay Wright, Temple’s Fran Dunphy, Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli, La Salle’s John Giannini, Penn’s Steve Donahue, and Drexel’s Zach Spiker—will be auctioned off on Saturday too.
The matchups in Saturday’s Coaches vs. Cancer Classic will be as follows:
10:00 a.m. Bensalem High School vs. HGP (Freshman game)
12:00 p.m. St. Andrew’s vs. Calvary
1:30 p.m. St. Jerome’s vs. St. Katherine Drexel (Holland)
3:00 p.m. St. Christopher’s vs. Ancillae Assumpta Academy
5:30 p.m. Bensalem vs. HGP (JV)
7:00 p.m. Bensalem vs. HGP (Varsity)
All proceeds from this event will benefit Coaches vs. Cancer.
Penn State Altoona freshman John Polidoro, an HGP alum, was named the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Men's Swimmer of the Week on January 9.
John Polidoro ’15 makes a splash at Penn State Altoona
Penn State Altoona freshman John Polidoro, a 2015 HGP graduate, was named the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Men's Swimmer of the Week on January 9. To read more about John, click more.
Ghost Stories is an online newsletter for alumni, parents, and students of Holy Ghost Prep.
Holy Ghost Prep president Gregory J. Geruson '79 guest-lectured to both sections of Tom Murtaugh's AP Economics class on January 5th about the business of running the school.
President Geruson teaches AP Economics students about HGP as a business
Holy Ghost Prep president Gregory J. Geruson ’79 guest-lectured to both sections of Tom Murtaugh’s AP Economics class on January 5th about the business of running the school.
His presentation—entitled “HGP as a Business”—covered a number of relevant topics, including the local educational marketplace and the competition the school faces, a snapshot at how HGP allocates its annual budget, as well as some insight into HGP’s overall product, price and value.
“Having Mr. Geruson speak with my AP Economics students enabled them to see how the concepts they are learning in the course apply right here at Holy Ghost,” said Murtaugh. “We use real-world examples in class all of the time to better understand economic concepts, but having Mr. Gersuson explain how he puts economics to work for Holy Ghost provided the students with a greater appreciation for the value of the economic principles they are learning.”
Murtaugh, who plans on having another guest speaker during the spring semester, truly believes in the power of outside speakers sharing real-world knowledge in his classroom. During the 2015-16 school year, Murtaugh had Ray Glemser ’79, CEO of Glemser Technologies, speak to his AP Economics students about his business.
Callahan Lennon '17 has overcome last year's foot injury and is trying to shave enough time of his one-mile and 3,000-meter times to impress college coaches.
Callahan Lennon is back on track
Just over a year ago, Callahan Lennon ’17 was building quite a running resume for himself, winning the 2015 PIAA District 1 cross-country title and then medaling at states.
Colleges were beginning to take notice, and all Lennon, a junior at that time, had to do was drop his mile time into the 4:20s during the Holy Ghost 2016 indoor and outdoor track seasons to intensify that interest.
But then a foot injury got in the way. At first, Lennon tried to muscle through, thinking it was something minor and focusing on his goal of impressing college track coaches rather than the pain in his left foot.
“I thought that I could fight through it,” says Lennon. “But then my times weren’t good. And my mom saw me limping around constantly, so we decided to get it checked out.”
Lennon was diagnosed with a broken bone on the top of his left foot, costing him the chance to turn college coaches’ heads even further as a junior. But he followed his doctor’s advice and was eventually able to trade in his walking boot for running shoes.
Healthy again, Lennon trained religiously in the summer before his senior year—lifting one day, running the next. The regimen paid off, as Lennon was back to his old dominant self again this past fall, winning the 2016 District 1 Class AA individual cross-country title and once again medaling at states. In addition to Lennon’s individual success, the senior-laden Firebirds cross-country squad won its 21st consecutive Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) crown and captured the PIAA District 1 Class AA team title before finishing seventh at states in the team competition.
“It was a great cross-country season, and it was extra special because of the team success that I had with a bunch of my friends who I’ve been running with since our freshman year,” said Lennon.
Now Lennon is right back where he was at the time of his injury, trying to shave enough time off his one-mile and 3,000-meter times to impress college coaches. Lennon wants to attend a school near a major U.S. city—his current wish list includes Fordham (where ex-HGP teammates Patrick Dineen ’15 and Patrick Donahue ’16 currently run), Boston College, Temple, and UCLA (which he fell in love with during a California family vacation this past summer).
No matter which school he chooses, Holy Ghost Prep coach Mike Meistering believes that Lennon possesses the traits necessary to succeed as a collegiate runner.
“Cal loves the sport and has been blessed with a determination to succeed, an amazing competitiveness, and some natural gifts,” says Meistering.
A self-professed fan of the NCIS and Criminal Minds TV shows, Lennon plans to major in psychology and minor in criminal justice in hopes of becoming a real-life criminal investigator someday. “I take AP psychology at Holy Ghost Prep, and I find it really interesting,” says Lennon, a painter/artist who is also a member of Holy Ghost’s National Art Honor Society. “I think it’ll be a fascinating career path to pursue.”
Holy Ghost Prep received a $500,000 gift from the Holt family, the single largest individual gift in its history, the school announced during a Dec. 20 school assembly.
Holy Ghost Prep receives the largest gift in its history
Holy Ghost Prep has received a $500,000 gift from the Holt family, the single largest individual gift in its history, the school announced during a Dec. 20 school assembly in the Firebird Fieldhouse.
The family’s gift will serve as the naming gift for the Holt Center, a campus jewel that will debut in late 2017 and will include a performing arts center, a multi-purpose gymnasium, music instruction rooms, and special training areas for baseball, track and field, golf, lacrosse, and rowing. The Holt Center will serve Holy Ghost students but also will be available to community groups.
In addition to their generous Activity Center pledge, the Holts have also announced an additional $150,000 matching gift challenge. This additional gift, if achieved through alumni and parent leadership donations, will support the two-phased construction of a STEM Tower in Cornwells Hall. In phase one of the project, the lower level of the northeast wing of Cornwells Hall will be converted this summer into a maker space where students will be creative, experiment, and build practical projects. The second phase of the project will result in the building of two STEM-based biology labs, two STEM-based physics labs, and two STEM-based chemistry labs.
“This is a landmark day in the history of Holy Ghost Prep,” said Holy Ghost Prep president Gregory J. Geruson ’79. “The Holts have a deep and real passion for Holy Ghost, its students, its faculty, and the values that the school instilled in them. Thanks to the Holts’ 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.”
The just-announced gift to name the Holt Center and to help the construction of Holy Ghost’s STEM Tower puts the Holt family in rareified air as the only family to have donated over $1 million to the school.
The Holts are an HGP institution. Tom Holt ’81 was the first family member to attend Holy Ghost Prep and now sits on the school’s Board of Trustees. Tom’s brothers, Leo ’82 and Michael ’91, are also Holy Ghost graduates and all three brothers serve together as executives in Holt Logistics Corp., the family’s 40-year-old marine terminal business. Tom’s four sons—Thomas III ’02, Eric ’03, Phillip ’01, and Christian ’11—are all HGP graduates too, as are four of his nephews (L.J. Petroni ’98, Rich Petroni ’02, Nicholas DiBello ’01, and Angelo DiBello ’05).
For the Holts, Holy Ghost Prep is more than a school. It helps define them. But the Holts want people to know that their connection to Holy Ghost is more than a name on a building. It’s a lifelong connection.
“The (Holt Center) name is less important to us than the legacy of the young people going through it and what it means to them and how they’ll be able to enjoy it,” Leo Holt says. “It’s less important than the fact that Holy Ghost will continue the traditions it established.”
The Holt Center, when completed, will be vital step in Holy Ghost’s quest to become the area’s premier Catholic college preparatory school.
“We enjoyed many advantages at Holy Ghost, one of the very best high schools in the country,” Tom Holt said. “And we learned that because we had the benefit of such a great education, we had the obligation to give back so that other young men can have the same experience and enjoy a great head start in life.
“That’s really why we’re here today: Because the Holt family understands and cherishes the chance to give back to the school that has meant so much to our family.”
The Holt family’s $150,000 matching gift challenge should inspire HGP donors to completely fund the school’s major gift initiatives, including the Holt Center and the STEM Tower project.
“We hope this challenge will inspire additional generosity to Holy Ghost,” Tom Holt says. “This matching gift challenge will allow certain gifts to the school’s Vision 2020 initiative to be matched dollar for dollar and will enable Holy Ghost Prep to fund and complete these bold initiatives.”
Ghost Stories is an online newsletter for alumni, parents, and students of Holy Ghost Prep.
We asked an interesting cross-section of Holy Ghost Prep faculty and staff members to name one book that people should buy for a friend or family member on their Christmas shopping list this year.
Stocking stuffers for book lovers
With the holidays upon us, we asked an interesting cross-section of Holy Ghost Prep faculty and staff members to name one book that people should buy for a friend or family member on their Christmas shopping list and to cite a short reason why that book would make the perfect gift.
Matt Jordan, English and writing teacherOur Story Begins: New and Selected Stories, by Tobias Wolff
Here are the stocking-stuffer ideas they had for the readers and book collectors in your life.
“This is a great collection of stories from one of my favorite authors. I use a number of them in my English classes. The students like his work.”
Gerri Carmine, dean of studies and math teacher The Cicero Trilogy, by Robert Harris
“I highly recommend the Cicero trilogy by Robert Harris: Imperium, Lustrum,
. I just finished the third book (Dictator
) and it was a great read, historical fiction that comes alive with contemporary themes.”
Steve Stunder ’98, director of counseling Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom
“I know that this book usually ends up on most people’s ‘book bucket list,’ but as a teacher, seeing the value of what you can do for a student, and how one should look at their own life, and the lives of others, is always a great lesson. This book is also a very quick read, mostly because you cannot put it down. This is a great book of reflection, empathy, and self-understanding.”
Dr. John Scanlon '01, social studies and world languages teacherThe Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett
“On its own, The Colour of Magic
earns high praise for its satiric romp through fantasy cliches. Even better, however, is the fact that this book is the first in Pratchett's award-winning Discworld
series. What begins as a simple send-up of the genre becomes, over the span of his 40+ book corpus, a unique setting dynamically evolving alongside an ever-growing cast of unforgettable heroes and ne'er-do-wells.”
Dana Brown, coordinator of advancement services
A “One Story” subscription
“While not a single book, I recommend a “One Story” subscription. Check out the website, https://www.one-story.com, for more info, but basically, they send one story a month. Stand-alone literary fiction pieces that are previously unpublished. Some you'll like, some you won’t. But you get to hear from new authors, read many styles, and if you only have time for a short story, then it's a perfect fit. Plus it’s cheap!! $21/year.”
Tony Figliola, English teacher and forensics moderator
The Humans, by Stephan Karam
“Though it's best experienced performed by its brilliant cast, this Pulitzer Prize drama winner, set in a Chinatown apartment during Thanksgiving Dinner, depicts a Scranton family struggling to find what to be thankful for. The dialogue is side-splittingly funny but there are hurts that cut as deep as a sharp knife into a turkey carcass. The work is written by Stephan Karam, former forensic national champ from Scranton Central High School, and a friend of our team back then.”
Jim Stewart, religion teacher and director of athleticsThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown
"You don't need to like anything about sports to enjoy this book. It's a story about pride in our country and the will to succeed."
Mark Whartenby, director of campus ministry and service No Man is an Island, by Thomas Merton
"One of my favorite books that I have read a few times is No Man is an Island by Thomas Merton. It is a book of spiritual reflections that talk about our true nature and how we find happiness and live a life of value. I think there are a lot of ideas that one can reflect on and add to how they live."
Patrick McGhee ’03, English teacherMarathon Man, by William Goldman
“Thomas Babington ‘Babe’ Levy, a Columbia Ph.D. student and marathon runner in training, leads a simple life, coping with his father’s suicide and his brother’s frequent absences from his life. Every other chapter, the story shifts to another character’s point of view, a spy named Scylla, who is in the middle of an espionage plot that he does not fully understand. The stories tie together when Babe’s brother shows up at his door mysteriously shot. Babe is pulled into Scylla’s world, running for his life rather than a marathon. Set in 1970’s New York City, this novel takes you through diamond smuggler deals, aging Nazi SS officer activity, and dentistry that will make nine out of 10 people cringe next time they see their DDS.”
Bill Doherty, director of communications
The Tender Bar, by J.R. Moehringer
“In this superbly written memoir, Moehringer, a Pulitzer Prize winner for feature writing in 2000, fondly recalls growing up without a father in Manhasset, Long Island, a hometown that he says was famous for producing a ‘disproportionate number of superb lacrosse players and a still-greater number of distended livers.’ Because his father left before he had spoken his first word, J.R. turned to the neighborhood bar—where his Uncle Charlie was a bartender and where all sorts of men gathered to tell their stories and forget their cares—in search of male role models.”
The Bucks County Courier Times recently named its annual Golden Teams for the fall 2016 season and a total of 15 Holy Ghost Prep student-athletes earned spots on these all-area teams.
15 Holy Ghost Prep student-athletes earn Golden Team recognition
The Bucks County Courier Times recently named its annual Golden Teams for the fall 2016 season and a total of 15 Holy Ghost Prep student-athletes earned spots on these all-area teams.
Second Team: Callahan Lennon ’17
Honorable Mention: Sean Dixon ’17, Kevin Dineen ’17
First Team: David Robbins ’17
Second Team: Jack LaRosa ’17, Liam Hart ’19
Honorable Mention: Dan Kovacevich ’19, Owen Heffernan ’19, Jack Bishop ’18
First Team: Connor Fife ’18
Second Team: Ted Barbe ’17, Alex Finney ’18, Ryan French ’17
Honorable Mention: Nkosi Graham ’19, Luke McDonald ’17
Four current Holy Ghost Prep students—Alex Kobilnyk '19, Hugh Collins '17, Garrison Moore '17, and Walter Marcinkowski '17—have earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
Four Holy Ghost Prep students become Eagle Scouts
Four current Holy Ghost Prep students—Alex Kobilnyk ’19, Hugh Collins ’17, Garrison Moore ’17, and Walter Marcinkowski ’17—have earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank anyone can receive in the Boys Scouts of America.
In order to attain Eagle Scout status, these young men had to complete 22 or more merit badges, including those on citizenship, emergency preparedness, personal fitness, first aid, personal management, cooking, and family life. In addition, the four HGP students had to design, plan, and execute a significant Eagle service project in the community as well as fulfill leadership positions in their troop.
An Eagle project is the opportunity for a Boy Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community. This is the culmination of the Eagle Scout candidate’s leadership training, and it requires a significant effort on his part.
“Holy Ghost Prep is fortunate to have many Boys Scouts among its student body,” says John Fitzpatrick ’89, the chair of HGPs religion department. “Congratulations to Alex, Hugh, Garrison, and Walter on earning their Eagle Scout rank this year. We’re really proud of them.”
If there is anyone who have achieved Eagle Scout status in 2016 but was not recognized in this article, please contact Mr. Fitzpatrick for inclusion in further updates.
Senior Aidan Bauer scored 14 points to lead the Firebirds (2-1 in 2016-17) to a 38-29 win over Valley Forge Military Academy.
Aidan Bauer scores 14 as Holy Ghost Prep tops VFMA
Senior Aidan Bauer scored 14 points to lead the Firebirds (2-1 record in 2016-17) to a 38-29 win over Valley Forge Military Academy in the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) opener for both teams. To read a Philadelphia Inquirer story about the game, click here. (photo courtesy of Steven M. Falk/Philadelphia Inquirer staff photographer)