News & Events
Marie Bliss' remarkable career at Holy Ghost Prep will come to a close this spring as she has decided to retire.
Marie Bliss will retire after 46 years of teaching at HGP
Marie Bliss’ incredible 46-year tenure as a Holy Ghost Prep science teacher ironically began with her turning down the job.
At the time, she was still a college student at what was then-Holy Family College. It was December and HGP's Father Hanley was in a bind. The school needed a biology teacher as soon as possible, but Bliss’ initial answer was “no.”
“I just had too much on my plate …. I was the editor of the newspaper, I was studying for my comprehensives, teaching Sunday school, doing research for du Pont, and carrying a full load of classes,” Bliss recalls. “So I said no.
“But Sister Florence, my academic dean at Holy Family, just kept asking and asking. I’ll never forget her words: ‘I want you to do me a favor and just take this on as a life experience.’”
Bliss begrudgingly took the job. She thought she’d do it for the rest of the school year, take her MCATs, and then head off to medical school.
But her life plan took an unexpected U-turn as she realized that education, not medicine was her life’s true calling.
“I realized two or three years into my time here that this was my vocation and that Holy Ghost Prep was the place that I was meant to be,” Bliss said. “And it’s been a fabulous experience. Each and every student I’ve had during my years at Holy Ghost has had an impact on my life; they’ve taught me so much.”
And Bliss has certainly made her mark on Holy Ghost Prep.
Her terrific career at Holy Ghost Prep will come to a close at the end of the 2016-17 academic year as Bliss has decided to retire.
“Over the course of her remarkable 46 years at Holy Ghost, countless future doctors, researchers, and science teachers were welcomed into Marie’s ‘habitat’ in Cornwells Hall and their passion for science was ignited. I had the pleasure of being taught by Marie, as did Father Jeff Duaime and many members of our faculty and our Board of Trustees,” says Holy Ghost Prep president Gregory J. Geruson’79.
“In addition to her impact on her students, Marie was a trailblazer here at Holy Ghost Prep as the school’s first full-time female lay teacher. Holy Ghost Prep became her second home, a place where she helped an endless sea of high school students learn to navigate not only through biology, chemistry, anatomy/physiology, and forensics science, but through life.”
Stephen Stunder ’98, an alum who returned as the school’s director of counseling, isn’t sure that Bliss even realizes the impact she has had at Holy Ghost Prep.
“There are no real words that can describe what Marie Bliss has meant to the students of Holy Ghost Prep for nearly half a century,” says Stunder. “She is a pillar of this institution, and to me personally, someone who always believed in me—as a student, as a colleague, and most importantly, as a person. I do not know a Holy Ghost Prep that exists without Marie.”
Tony Rocco ’95, like Stunder, is one of thousands of HGP students positively impacted by Bliss.
“Mrs. Bliss’ classes helped me build a foundation for science studies. I also fondly recall ‘life’ conversations with Mrs. Bliss, both as a teenage freshman as well as a young man preparing to enter college. It was not just Mrs. Bliss’ passion for science, but her interest in imparting knowledge, that was special,” says Rocco. “Mrs. Bliss knew how to challenge her students while having a reasonable approach with them. Through discussions with her, I learned that beyond the classroom Mrs. Bliss really valued family and cherished the time with them.
“As a person who sought to have a profession for which to be passionate, achieving the goal of working in the field of Environmental Health and Safety as an industrial hygienist was (and is) something that I value greatly. It is the joy, though, that I receive everyday through my wonderful wife and children that I value most. I feel Mrs. Bliss not only had an influence on me for a science-based profession, but also had a hand in me developing a reasonable personality and a balanced approach towards life.”
After she retires, Bliss will spend more time with her husband Greg and her sons James and Thomas McGoldrick, both HGP alums. She will also continue to help hundreds of animals get adopted in the Bensalem, Yardley and Philadelphia area through her “Four the Paws” organization. In addition, she will pursue her goal of becoming involved with the Red Paw Emergency Relief team, an arm of the Red Cross that cares for animals displaced in disasters and tries to reinite them with their families or find new homes for them.
Nine HGP senior student-athletes will continue their academic and athletic careers at East Coast colleges and universities in the fall.
Nine HGP student-athletes see college dreams come true
With family members, coaches, teachers, and the entire student body sitting in the bleachers cheering them on at the annual senior college commitment assembly in the Firebird Fieldhouse on April 27, Holy Ghost Prep athletic director Jim Stewart proudly announced where nine HGP student-athletes formally will continue their academic and athletic careers in the fall.
The nine members of the Class of 2017 who have committed to play sports at college and universities (in alphabetical order) are:
- Kevin Dineen, Fordham University (cross country/track and field)
- Zach Geiser, La Salle University (rowing)
- Samuel Huslin, Bucknell University (track and field)
- Jack LaRosa, Chestnut Hill College (golf)
- Callahan Lennon, Temple University (cross country/track and field)
- Walter Marcinkowski, Marywood University (swimming)
- John McCrane, University of the Sciences (baseball)
- Bobby McLoughlin, University of Scranton (swimming)
- Conor Sablich, Moravian College (lacrosse)
“This is a great day for these nine student-athletes, their families, and everyone here at Holy Ghost Prep,” said Stewart. “These young men have represented Holy Ghost Prep with class, and I look forward to their continued success at the collegiate level.
“It takes a tremendous amount of perseverance and hard work to hone your skills enough to become a college athlete. I can honestly say that I am as proud of who these young men are as I am of their achievements.”
Jimmy Dillon '96, who starred at Holy Ghost Prep and then the University of Notre Dame, has been named Nazareth Academy's new basketball coach.
Jimmy Dillon ’96 named Nazareth Academy basketball coach
Jimmy Dillon ’96, who starred at Holy Ghost Prep and then the University of Notre Dame, has been named Nazareth Academy’s new basketball coach.
The 38-year-old Dillon averaged 16.8 points and 4.6 assists while sparking Holy Ghost to a 28-3 record and the Class 3A state semifinals in 1996. He is a member of the Holy Ghost Prep Athletic Hall of Fame.
Following a terrific high school career at Holy Ghost, Dillon enjoyed a stellar four-year career at Notre Dame—culminating with his senior season when he led Notre Dame to a 22-15 record and the National Invitational Tournament championship game in 2000.
Following his graduation from Notre Dame, Dillon played professional basketball in Finland.
He currently runs the Hoops 24-7 Basketball Academy with partner Frank Pellegrino and resides in Philadelphia with his wife and daughters.
On April 11th, Holy Ghost Prep held 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. (photo by Catalano Studio)
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.
Edna Ramirez wrote "The Rabbit on the Moon," a children's book, years ago. Her husband had it secretly illustrated (by Philadelphia artist Zack Bird, pictured here with Raimirez) and published as a birthday present.
Authoring a surprise ending
When her husband David Johnston arranged a surprise 50th birthday party for her in late January, Holy Ghost Prep teacher Edna Ramirez thought the party itself was her main present.
But Johnston had a bigger surprise up his sleeve.
For over a year, Johnston had worked to get “The Rabbit on the Moon,” a children’s book that Dr. Ramirez had written in Spanish and English years ago, secretly illustrated and published.
Johnston hired family friend Zack Bird, a Philadelphia-based artist, to illustrate the book and then had the book self-published by Amazon. After many twists and turns, the book was published in mid-January and arrived four days before Ramirez’s birthday. With family and friends, including Bird, gathered together for the surprise party, Johnston floored Ramirez a bit when he presented her with a published copy of her book.
“It was a dream come true,” says Ramirez, who is completing her fourth year as a Spanish teacher at Holy Ghost Prep.
In a word, Johnston describes her reaction to the gesture as “priceless.”
“I think this will keep me out of trouble for a least a year, maybe a little more,” Johnston quipped. “The presentation was done at a surprise party I had arranged for her, so the surprise was really double. Only a handful of people at the party knew about the project because we were worried that someone would spill the beans. She was very surprised all around. I think she is still a little puzzled as to how we pulled it off, but very happy we did.”
Ramirez, who had originally learned “The Rabbit on the Moon” story as a child growing up in Mexico, wrote her adaptation of the ancient Aztec tale in Spanish while she was staying home with the couple’s two then-young children: Manya Johnston-Ramirez, now a senior at Gwynedd Mercy Academy who will attend the University of Pennsylvania next fall, and Albert Johnston-Ramirez, a sophomore at Holy Ghost Prep.
Dr. Ramirez realized that the story would reach even more children if she wrote it in English as well, so she translated the story, took classes about writing children’s books, joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, attended conferences, and worked for three-to-five years to get the story perfectly polished in both languages before approaching several publishing companies.
“I tried to send it to some different publishing companies that had published bilingual books,” Ramirez recalls. “But it was at a time when digital publishing had just taken off, so the big publishing companies weren’t publishing as many books—particularly children picture’s books because they are expensive to illustrate and produce.”
Although the publishing of the book encountered a temporary dead end, Ramirez kept the story alive by reading it to her pre-school though fourth grade students at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy, where she taught prior to Holy Ghost Prep. And you guessed it; the children loved the story—just as Ramirez had as a child in Mexico.
So she approached Bird about possibly illustrating the book five or six years ago. Bird did a few very rough pencil sketches, but Bird makes his living as an artist, had never done a children’s book before, and frankly was pressed for time.
“Zack loved the idea, but he really didn’t have time to embark on the project,” said Ramirez. “So the book went into a drawer for a while.”
But then Johnston decided to author a surprise happy ending to this story. He started discussing the project with Bird again during the summer of 2015 and the illustrator started working on the project, between other jobs, in November 2015.
“From start to finish the project took well over a year. Keeping it a secret was easy at first, but as communications became frequent, it became really difficult. Zack and I communicated in person, emails, text messages, and by phone to discuss what we got wrong and refining what we got right,” said Johnston. “This was her story and so many times we really wanted to ask her opinion on this or that. I almost slipped and asked her something dozens of times. The closer we were to completion, the worse it became. One time, Zack sent me a text about meeting and she read it! I fortunately made up a good excuse and no suspicions were raised.”
The first proof of the book printed last November, but the illustrations came out too dark, so Bird and Johnston made revisions and the final version arrived just in time to surprise Ramirez.
“The amount of work that both of them did, without me knowing, was incredible,” says Ramirez. “Zack’s illustrations are gorgeous. And David really went above and beyond. For instance, when my parents were here for Christmas, David showed the final version to my parents to ensure that there were no grammatical errors in the Spanish text, and to make sure they liked the illustrations.
“My parents loved the book and the illustrations. My dad was amazed that an artist in Pennsylvania was able to capture the Mexican spirit of the illustrations, and that David went to all of this effort to give me the best 50th birthday present I could ever imagine.”
To learn more about the book or to order a copy on Amazon, click here.
Holy Ghost Prep head coach Tony Chapman '71 was honored at the inaugural Coaches vs. Cancer High School Legends Dinner April 5 at the Great American Pub in Conshohocken.
Tony Chapman ’71 honored at Coaches vs. Cancer Legends Dinner
Holy Ghost Prep head coach Tony Chapman ’71 was honored at the inaugural Coaches vs. Cancer High School Legends Dinner April 5 at the Great American Pub in Conshohocken.
Chapman, who enjoys being in the spotlight approximately as much as Holy Ghost Prep turnovers, was one of five legendary high school coaches honored that night—the others being Steve Chadwin (Abington Friends), Jim Fenerty (Germantown Academy), William “Speedy” Morris (St. Joseph’s Prep) and the retired Dan Dougherty, who coached for over 35 years between Malvern Prep and Episcopal Academy.
The quintet has won a mind-boggling 3,676 games and 68 titles in their respective leagues and districts combined.
Chapman’s squads have won over 828 games, 20 Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) titles, seven District One titles, and two Eastern State titles over the past 39 years. Chapman is a legend at Holy Ghost as evidenced by the fact that he coaches in a court that bears his name.
Each honoree was introduced by someone close to him—in Chapman’s case, his wife Jane impeccably did the honors—and then he humbly accepted the well-deserved accolade.
“I am fully aware that my success is the result of the support I receive from many of the people here tonight sharing this celebration with me,” Chapman told the assembled guests.
“As any coach knows, games and practices are only part of the commitment. Scouting, film reviews and practice planning take up hours of time. My family not only accepts this commitment, but shares and supports this journey with my through their love and support. There is no bigger cheerleader for me, my family or my basketball players than my wife Jane. Whether it is cheering on the sidelines, taking care of everything during the season or reminding me to remain grounded when the emotion of the season begins to build, my wife Jane is the is the foundation of my success.”
The event, hosted by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, was attended by five tables full of Holy Ghost guests, including family, friends, classmates, HGP assistant coaches both past and present, and a number of Chapman’s former players. It also attracted a who’s who of local hoops coaches, including Temple’s Fran Dunphy (who introduced Dougherty), Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli, La Salle’s John’s Giannini, and Philadelphia University’s Herb Magee.
“I have been blessed with committed and hard-working players that saw basketball as more than just a path to college or their names in the newspaper,” said Chapman. “They accepted our style of play; our commitment to defense; our demands that good character is as important as the number of points you score. Along the way we celebrated some amazing nights together … and we supported each other when the season ended before we were ready.
“What is consistent throughout my coaching career is the spirit that is unique to Holy Ghost Prep, a school where the sharing of your gifts to make others better is always valued higher than your own achievements. It is a place where the leading scorer and the team manager have lunch together, a place with the Division One recruit shoots fouls with the last guy on the bench, a place where fans cheer just as loud when the team is up big as they do when the seniors walk off the court on the last game.”
Robert McDonough '13 has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship and will spend the next academic year studying in Austria.
HGP alum Robert McDonough awarded a Fulbright scholarship
La Salle University senior Robert McDonough ’13 was home on spring break in mid-March when the life-changing email from the Fulbright Scholars program arrived in his inbox.
“I think I told my mom that it would just be better if she sat down and read the email herself than for me to try to tell her,” McDonough recalls.
McDonough has been selected for the highly competitive Fulbright Scholars program and will leave in October for Austria, where he will stay until June of 2018. While there, McDonough, who is earning a degree in economics with minors in mathematics and German this spring, will spend the next academic year studying the relationship between Austrian translator Nora Wydenbruck and famous 20th century Austrian poet Christine Lavant at the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt in southern Austria.
A former HGP forensics standout who was a 2013 state champion and a fourth-place finisher at the 2013 CFL National tournament in extemporaneous speaking, McDonough credits Holy Ghost Prep with laying the groundwork that ultimately resulted in him being named a Fulbright scholar.
“Holy Ghost was a true college prep school. I entered my freshman year at La Salle with some idea that I wanted to study economics, but only because I’d taken a phenomenal AP Economics course as a junior at Holy Ghost,” says McDonough. “But for Holy Ghost, I may never have found my calling. More directly related to the Fulbright, and I’m not overstating this: I would not have earned this Fulbright without the foundation I built at Holy Ghost.”
McDonough’s research project is “An Analysis of Translator and Author: Lessons from Wydenbruck and Lavant.” Wydenbruck translated a handful of Lavant’s short stories and fiction, and the two maintained a unique relationship and friendship. One of Lavant’s works which was thought to be lost was later published in 2001, after the original German manuscript was discovered in Wydenbruck’s literary estate.
The Fulbright award also includes a teaching component, so McDonough will also be an English teaching assistant in a secondary school in Klagenfurt.
“I'll be in the classroom for around 15 hours a week teaching English to native Austrians,” McDonough says.
Following his time as a Fulbright student, McDonough hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in economics. He has already been accepted into the programs at the University of Oregon and SUNY Buffalo.
“The work that I did in and out of class at Holy Ghost gave me the foundation I needed to take advantage of every opportunity that La Salle had to offer. I learned to think critically and express myself effectively at Holy Ghost,” says McDonough. “Also, without the teachers and mentors that I found at Ghost, I would never have developed the mental strength to pursue something like a Fulbright.
“If I had to boil it down to one sentence: The community at Holy Ghost not only started me on this path, they gave me the tools to reach the end.”
CBS3 reporter Pat Gallen interviewed HGP sophomore Jack Pinkstone and Mike Jacobs '01 about the prosthetic hand Jack built and the after-school club he started to build more hands for kids in need.
On April 3, Holy Ghost Prep coach Jack Crouse and HGP seniors Kyle Cartin, Jack Smiley and Conlan McHugh joined radio host Rich Henkels for the taping of the High School Sports Show.
Three HGP students appear on area high school sports radio show
On Monday, April 3, Holy Ghost Prep JV basketball coach and the school's lifting coach Jack Crouse and HGP student-athletes Kyle Cartin (rowing and basketball), Jack Smiley (ice hockey) and Conlan McHugh (track and field) joined Rich Henkels at the Green Parrot in Newtown for the taping of the High School Sports Show’s discussion on the importance of proper nutrition to fuel athletic performance.
Part of a series of programming that tapes weekly on Monday nights from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the High School Sports Show, now on News Talk 990 AM, is a program that is dedicated to discussing all aspects of high school sports. The episode recorded at Green Parrot on April 3 will air from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 8.
With topics ranging from parental roles to proper nutrition to what it takes to have a future in athletics, the High School Sports Show is a valuable resource for high school athletes and parents alike. The April 3 taping took place live at the Green Parrot (240 N. Sycamore Street, Newtown, PA 18940).
The Holy Ghost Prep contingent was joined on the nutrition-themed show by other athletic trainers as well as by student-athletes from Neshaminy High School, Hatboro-Horsham High School and Nazareth Academy.
Holy Ghost Prep held its annual President's Reception, an event which honors generous HGP donors as well as some of the school's talented students on March 24. (photo by Catalano Studio)
President’s Reception celebrates HGP donors and students
Holy Ghost Prep held its annual President’s Reception, a special event which simultaneously honors generous and committed HGP donors as well as some of the school’s talented students, at the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale on March 24.
The annual dinner is a heartwarming event; the students and their families are delighted to meet some of the donors who have literally invested in the school’s success. The donors left the dinner clearly inspired by the young people they met and in knowing that their investment is helping transform lives.
During his remarks, Holy Ghost Prep president Gregory J. Geruson ’79 briefly thanked the donors for the generosity to the school.
“The students in this room, and at HGP as a whole, are on a great trajectory. We are on the pathway to becoming the premier independent Catholic college preparatory school in the area,” said Geruson. “And we are not on this journey alone. It is because of your generosity that this is possible. Whether it is support for scholarships, facilities, sports, or academic program your commitment to the mission and vision of Holy Ghost Prep has a material and sustained impact on our future.
“In fact, by many accounts, our future has never been brighter! For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Senior Luke Profy, the current recipient of the Downey scholarship, delivered a heartfelt appreciation for the scholarship that has enabled him to continue his family’s legacy of attending Holy Ghost Prep.
“My three-and-a-half years at Holy Ghost have been a blessing to me and my family. My involvement in student government, campus ministry, Ghosts around the World, and many other clubs and activities has helped shape me into the person that I am today,” said Profy. “The friendships and bonds that I have made with classmates and friends will remain a part of who I am forever.
“Most importantly, my time at Holy Ghost Prep has allowed me to be more than just a student leader and more than just an active member of our school. Holy Ghost has challenged me to be the best version of myself. I have been blessed.”
Profy was one of eight appreciative scholarship recipients who attended the dinner—the others being freshman Charles Mshomba (Spiritan scholarship), junior Mark Jonathan Pabalon (Class of 1979 scholarship), sophomore Stephen Joyce (Class of 1979 scholarship), freshman Shane Love (Maguire Foundation scholarship), freshman Krishna Mysore (Spiritan scholarship), junior Sean O’Hara (Spiritan scholarship) and sophomore Avery Clark (Spiritan scholarship).
In addition, the evening’s music was provided by HGP students Charles Lawall (vocals), Patrick Byrnes (vocals), Jeffrey DiFrancesco (vocals and piano), David Connuck (vocals and piano), Willdragon Wang (piano), Justin Letizia (piano), and Mark Jonathan Pabalon (piano).
At the end of his remarks, Profy thanked benefactors for their life-changing scholarship gifts to today’s HGP students and urged his classmates to strive to become supporters themselves one day.
“Your generosity and spirit of giving has helped make all of this possible for me and many others at our school,” Profy said. “You have also taught me and my classmates that someday, it will be our turn to take on the role of generous supporters of the mission of Holy Ghost Prep. I hope that we can do that as well and as graciously as you all have.”
To view a full gallery of Catalano Studio photos from this event, click here.
Luke Profy, Mark Vigliotti, Conor Gibbons, and Carlo Duffy will be honored at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Academic Honors Convocation on May 18.
Four HGP seniors to be honored at Archdiocese’s Academic Convocation
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia holds its Annual Academic Honors Convocation each spring, honoring the highest scholars of the senior class of the Catholic secondary schools.
The 2017 convocation will be held on Thursday, May 18 in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Selection for this honor is determined by the student’s cumulative rank in class calculated at the conclusion of the first semester of their senior year.
The following students have been selected to represent Holy Ghost Prep’s Class of 2017: Luke Profy, Mark Vigliotti, Conor Gibbons, and Carlo Duffy.
The annual Holy Ghost Prep Fine Arts Festival, showcasing the work of HGP artists and musicians, will take place on Thursday, April 6, 2017. (This image is by Daniel Pawluczyk '17.)
HGP’s Fine Arts Festival will take place on April 6
The annual Holy Ghost Prep Fine Arts Festival will take place on Thursday, April 6, 2017. This event showcases the work of all of HGP’s student artists and musicians.
Student artwork fills Cornwells Hall. Underclassmen works are in the dining hall and on the first floor. The senior portfolio drawings, paintings and prints are exhibited in the Geruson Gallery and art studio.
Art recognitions will take place at 6:45 p.m. in the studio. Mark Kuhn ’08, the founder and CEO of Oat Foundry, will serve as senior show juror this year. Awards will be given in drawing, painting, print making, and 2D/3D design categories to students of Karen O’Brien Smallen, HGP’s visual art teacher.
A concert, featuring the chorus, jazz band and concert band, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The chorus and bands will showcase what they’ve been taught this year by Holy Ghost’s musical director Beth Vilsmeier
The evening is dedicated to the artists and musicians of the Class of 2017.
Holy Ghost Prep's swim team turned in impressive performances at both the PIAA district and state championship meets this March.
Holy Ghost swimmers made a splash at districts, states
Holy Ghost Prep’s swim team turned in impressive performances at both the PIAA district and state championship meets this March.
The Firebirds finished fourth at the 2017 PIAA District One championships back on March 2-3 at La Salle’s University’s Kirk Pool.
Holy Ghost brought home 21 medals and broke two school records as districts. The Firebirds finished the meet with 237 points, narrowly missing third place by 2-1/2 points.
The two new school records were set at districts by Andrew Iannacone, who swam a 1:00.76 in the 100 breaststroke, and the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Bobby McLoughlin, Zach Geiser, Matt Doucette and Erik Fenstermaker, who broke the old school record of 1:34.52 set in 2011 by swimming a time of 1:33.89. Iannacone’s blistering time in the 100 breaststroke shattered HGP’s 15-year-old record in the event, set by Mike Williams (1:01.43).
“We are truly proud of the accomplishments by our swimmers at the 2017 District One Championships! Everyone stepped up,” said Holy Ghost Prep athletic director Jim Stewart. “To have two school records broken during the most important event of the season is remarkable. Congratulations to our hard-working swimming athletes and coaches Sheree Marsh, Ed Roussell and TJ Farrell.”
With their record-setting swims, Iannacone and the 200-yard freestyle relay team of McLoughlin, Geiser, Doucette and Fenstermaker qualified to swim in the PIAA state championships at Bucknell University. The 200 medley relay team also qualified to swim at Bucknell in 1:41.74.
Iannacone continued his record-setting ways in the 100-yard breaststroke at the PIAA Class AA state championships at Bucknell in mid-March. The Holy Ghost Prep sophomore clocked a 59.89 to finish 11th in the 100 breaststroke at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium. The 59.89 shattered his school record that he had set a few weeks earlier at districts.
“My goal was to go under a minute, and it’s very exciting that I was able to do that,” Iannacone says. “The whole (state) meet was such a great experience, and I feel like I set myself up with a good foundation for the next couple of years. It was a fun meet, and I really want to get back here again.”
The 200-yard medley relay team of senior Bobby McLoughlin, sophomore Andrew Iannacone, junior Matthew Doucette, and senior Erik Fenstermaker finished 15th at the PIAA Class AA state championships in a time of 1:41.64, just off the school record time of 1:41.24.
HGP senior John McCrane (pictured), a hard-throwing righthander, has elected to play college baseball close to home at University of Sciences, choosing the Devils over Ursinus College and Catholic University.
John McCrane '17: Armed for success
John McCrane ’17 knows the many sacrifices that his mom Melissa has made to send him to Holy Ghost Prep. And he’s also aware of the thousands of miles she piled up on the family’s Nissan Maxima odometer to watch him play Firebird hoops and baseball or to get him out to the All-Star Baseball Academy in Warminster to hone his skills.
The sacrifices have all paid off as McCrane, a hard-throwing righthander, has elected to play college baseball close to home at University of Sciences, choosing the Devils over Ursinus College and Catholic University.
“She means everything to me,” says McCrane. “It was a stretch and a struggle for her to send me here, and I’m excited that she’ll be able to continue to watch me play in college.”
Blessed with a four-seam and two-seam fastball that have been clocked in the mid-to-high 80s as well as a changeup and curveball, McCrane was 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 23-2/3 innings last year. When he isn’t on the mound, McCrane will play shortstop, third base or centerfield (wherever his powerful right arm is needed) and will shoulder a significant leadership role for the Holy Ghost Prep baseball team this spring.
“John is a very coachable young man, a team player and a great competitor,” says Holy Ghost manager Vince Rossomando. “He always wants the ball in big moments and is willing to help other guys on the team whenever possible.”
McCrane believes that his experience of being an on-the-court leader for the HGP hoops team this winter will serve him well on the baseball diamond this spring.
“This year, I stepped into a much bigger leadership role in basketball, so I’ll be able to translate that into baseball as a more vocal leader this year with Nolan (Jones) gone,” says McCrane.
Holy Ghost Prep basketball coach Tony Chapman knows firsthand about McCrane’s leadership skills. A pass-first point guard, McCrane never shied away from a tough defensive assignment and always made the players around him better on the court in his two years of starting for Chapman’s varsity basketball team.
“He went into the year as one of a group of seniors from whom I was looking for leadership. And John seemed to emerge as the leader of the team,” says Chapman. “His work ethic and drive for personal success and, even more so, team success is extremely impressive. The University of the Sciences is a getting a wonderful young man first, an outstanding athlete, and an individual who makes the people around him better people.”
University of the Sciences baseball coach Kevin Woodbridge has told McCrane that the velocity on his fastball should consistently rise into the high-80s and low-90s once he spends time in a college weight room and his frame fills out.
Rossomando also believes that McCrane’s best pitching days are ahead of him.
“We’ve always felt that John has such a high ceiling because he is a big kid who is still growing and he understands how to pitch,” says Rossomando. “It would not surprise me if he is consistently throwing in the upper 80s once he gets to the University of Sciences and even harder as he gets older.
“One thing he needs to work on, and already has, is his mound presence. He wants to win every pitch and is such a competitor that he can be too hard on himself at times. The more he relaxes out there (on the mound), the sky is the limit for him.”
McCrane should be armed for success after his playing days are over. He will enroll in the College of the Sciences’ renowned pharmacy program, a seven-year doctorate program that has an impeccable track record for placing its graduates.
“You’re almost guaranteed a job as a pharmacist once you graduate,” says McCrane. “So I’ll go there, work hard and good things will happen, I’m sure.”
Six HGP artists will have their work displayed at the 22nd Annual Bucks County High School Art Exhibit from March 25 through April 5.
HGP artists will exhibit at Bucks County Community College
Six HGP artists will have their work featured at the 22nd Annual Bucks County High School Art Exhibit, which will take place in the Bucks County Community College’s Hicks Art Center from March 25 through April 5.
The six Holy Ghost artists whose work will be displayed at the community college are Hengrui Wang, Self-Portrait (linoleum print); Christopher Corr, John Lennon (linoleum print); Jacob Lawall, Tiger Lillies (intaglio print); Graham Gibbs, Memory Project (charcoal); Nathan Nicastro, Self-Portrait (linoleum print); and Anthony Baum, Slow Crawl (linoleum print).
An awards reception honoring the artists will be held on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.
The first-place winning artwork from this exhibition will be sent to Washington, D.C., where it will represent Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District and be displayed in the corridors of the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol for a year.
Mark Kuhn, John Halko and Michael Courtney, three 2008 HGP grads who started Oat Foundry together, made Drexel University's list of 40 people to watch under the age of 40.
Three 2008 HGP grads featured in Drexel University's "40 under 40"
to ready the Drexel University Magazine
"40 under 40" piece on the six Oat Foundry founders, including 2008 HGP graduates Mark Kuhn, John Halko and Michael Courtney.
Ghost Stories is an online newsletter for alumni, parents, and students of Holy Ghost Prep.
Eleven HGP students, including Jon Mann (left) and Mason El-Habr (right), will compete at the NCFL Grand National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky over the Memorial Day Weekend.
Eleven HGP students will compete in forensics national championships
Holy Ghost Prep’s renowned speech and debate program has qualified 11 students to compete against the nation’s best at the NCFL Grand National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend.
The students who will be making the trip to Louisville are:
Jon Mann and Mason El-Habr
Luke Muller and Colin Landers
Stefano Arnone and Kevin Nowicke
The HGP team isn’t resting on its laurels. In fact, they will compete for the 2017 state championship at the Pennsylvania High School Speech League tournament March 16-17 at Bloomsburg University.
Holy Ghost Prep students performed well at the Tests of Engineering Aptitude Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) competition at Widener University on March 7.
Holy Ghost Prep excels in TEAMS competition at Widener University
Holy Ghost Prep students recently displayed their knowledge and skills during the Tests of Engineering Aptitude Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) competition at Widener University on March 7.
Dr. Stephen Tomchaw, the science department chair and a physics teacher at Holy Ghost Prep, took six teams of HGP students to compete in the local competition. The competition consists of a written essay, a multiple choice exam, and an on-site design and build exercise. The theme for this year's competition was Engineering the Environment. The students' essay focused on a source of renewable energy that is appropriate to Pennsylvania.
The junior team placed third in the 11/12 grade division. HGP’s sophomore team tied for first in the 9/10 grade division, while the freshman team placed 3rd in the 9/10 grade division.
Qualification for the national competition in Orlando, Florida is based on the scores in all three areas (written essay, multiple choice exam, on-site design and build) and will be announced in April.
The members of three HGP teams that sported top-3 finishes at Widener University were:
HGP’s junior team (third-place finisher)
HGP’s sophomore team (tied for first place)
HGP’s freshman team (third-place finisher)
Holy Ghost Prep was recognized as one of the leaders in the Coaches vs. Cancer's school initiative at the University of Pennsylvania's historic Palestra on Monday, March 13.
Holy Ghost Prep honored at Coaches vs. Cancer breakfast on March 13
Holy Ghost Prep was recognized as one of the leaders in the Coaches vs. Cancer’s school initiative at the University of Pennsylvania’s historic Palestra on Monday, March 13.
The City 6 men’s college 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—gathered on the morning after Selection Sunday for their annual breakfast at the Palestra to raise money for cancer research and to celebrate the successes of the past year.
During the breakfast, Holy Ghost Prep was singled out for its successful efforts to raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer this year.
Back at a January 18th morning school assembly, Holy Ghost Prep’s Tony Chapman and Jim Stewart presented Coaches vs. Cancer’s Bill Campo with a check for $4,000. That money was raised during Holy Ghost Prep’s 12th annual CARES Walk. Chapman and Stewart presented another check for $3,500 to Campo at the Palestra on Monday, March 13. These proceeds came from the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, a six-game basketball marathon held at Holy Ghost Prep back on January 21.
These funds 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 students and parents are invited to speak up on important topics on Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m. in the Firebird Fieldhouse.
March 16th SpeakUp! event will offer HGP students, parents the opportunity for open dialogue
Balancing schoolwork, achieving good grades, filling out college applications, making the varsity roster or the school play, having an active social life—these are just a few of the various pressures high school students face every day.
For some, talking about dealing with these pressures can become even more taxing than the pressures themselves.
Thanks to a local organization called SpeakUp!, Holy Ghost Prep students and parents are invited to speak up on Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m. in the Firebird Fieldhouse about their daily life challenges in a confidential, yet open environment. Breakout sessions will be held to encourage students and adults to speak openly about critical issues, such as anxiety, body image, depression, mental health and other critical topics facing today’s youth.
This event is open to all members of the HGP community. In fact, the more participants we have, the more fruitful the conversations end up being. So even if you have attended a Parent Education Series event this year, please consider coming to this one too. All attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register for this event.
To pre-register, please click here http://www.speakup.org/2016-2017-events and scroll down to the March 16th HGP event.
HGP's College Guidance department is introducing a new Coffee Talk series this spring to keep parents better informed.
HGP College Guidance introduces new Coffee Talk series for parents
In an effort to provide more information on the college guidance process to Holy Ghost Prep parents throughout the year, the school’s College Guidance department is introducing a new Coffee Talk series this spring.
It will begin as a three-part pilot program this spring, and all three HGP Coffee Talks will take place from 8-8:45 a.m. in the library’s Sager Conference Room.
This spring’s three Coffee Talk topics will be:
March 10: Things to think about if your child wants to play a sport in college (parents of all grades)
Starting from the beginning, we will talk about the NCAA’s three different divisions of college competition (Division I, II and III), eligibility requirements, and statistics on the possibility of playing in college. Session will allow for Q&A. Handouts will include the NCAA manual for families.
March 31: Naviance as a Parent Resource (for current sophomore and junior parents)
Naviance is an underutilized resource for our parents meanwhile it is where the bulk of the work is being done by the student. This session will include the Naviance basics, along with the best use for parents. This session will conclude with a Q&A and parents who need help with their log-in will receive immediate assistance at the end.
April 28: Application Next Steps (for junior parents only)
As we head into summer break, things can be forgotten by September. This session will provide parents with a “checklist” of student next steps/things to think about to include (but not limited to): recommendation letter requests; application next steps; essay next steps; college visits; and testing plan. Q&A will be encouraged. We will include a handout of these topics.
To ensure we have enough space, coffee and snacks, please RSVP using this Google form: https://goo.gl/forms/KNNaUgjbGdeUltlE3
Please contact Bryn Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-639-2101 x 229 if you have any questions.
Ghost Stories is an online newsletter for alumni, parents, and students of Holy Ghost Prep.
Eight members of the Holy Ghost Prep band performed with the All-Catholic band on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at a festival concert at Archbishop Wood High School.
Eight HGP students earn All-Catholic band honors
Eight members of the Holy Ghost Prep band performed with the All-Catholic band on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at a festival concert at Archbishop Wood High School. The students, pictured below who performed with the All-Catholic band, are: Joseph Dryden (baritone saxophone), Michael DiNofa (trumpet), John Wisniewski (trumpet), John Schrenk (clarinet), Matthew Stauffer (percussion), Luigi Galzerano (alto saxophone), and Bryan Quigley (alto saxophone). Also present but not in the photo was Benjamin Gollmer (trombone).
Two students, John Wisniewski and Luigi Galzerano, received four-year participation awards. Two freshmen, Matthew Stauffer and Benjamin Gollmer, were selected for All-Catholic orchestra which will perform on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at Lansdale Catholic High School.
The All-Catholic band consists of 80 students from the archdiocesan and private Catholic high schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese who are selected by competitive audition each year.
Holy Ghost Prep senior Conor Sablich signed a letter of intent Feb. 24 to play lacrosse for Moravian College.
HGP lacrosse player Conor Sablich signs with Moravian College
With family members, his lacrosse coach Ryan Tessler, athletic director Jim Stewart, HGP principal Jeff Danilak and some of his classmates cheering him on, Holy Ghost Prep senior Conor Sablich signed a letter of intent Feb. 24 to play lacrosse for Moravian College.
“When I visited Moravian, I just felt comfortable there,” says Sablich, who will study accounting in college and plans to attend law school down the road. “It just felt like home.”
Moravian was the right choice for a number of reasons, according to Sablich, who chose the Greyhounds over Washington College, Widener University and Muhlenberg.
Moravian’s Division III lacrosse team, coached by Dave Carty, is in its second year as a varsity sport in 2017 after being a club sport. The Greyhounds went 10-6 last season. The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of building a college program—plus the camaraderie he felt among the Greyhound players during his visits to the school, the picture-postcard beauty of the school’s Bethlehem, Pa. campus, and the proximity to his parents’ home—were all key factors in his decision.
“Moravian gives me the best of both worlds,” says Sablich. “I’m away from home, but I’m close enough that my parents will easily be able to come see me play in college.”
Tessler believes that Moravian landed an excellent two-way player in Sablich, a returning starter at midfield.
“Moravian is getting the consummate teammate in Conor and an extremely hard worker,” says Tessler. “Conor is a great student-athlete who truly represents what HGP is all about when it comes to personal development. He will be a senior leader for our program this year.”
With his college decision behind him, Sablic can focus on his senior season. After advancing to the district playoffs during his freshman and sophomore years, an extremely young Holy Ghost Prep team struggled mightily last spring, winning just one game. But with its entire starting lineup back, Sablich foresees great things for the Firebirds in 2017.
“All of our starters are back from last year,” says Sablic. “Our off-season workouts have been great and everyone is fired up to turn things around. I’m sure other teams are sleeping on us, but we’re hungry to succeed this year and have the talent to do it.”
Says Tessler: “We return 85 percent of our scoring, our goalie, all of our defense and our top face-off option. More importantly, our guys invested time in each other and trained extremely hard to make 2017 a bounce-back year for the Firebirds. The team has truly embodied the ‘One Heart, One Mind’ mentality as we prepare for our spring campaign.”