The St. Gabriel’s System, which is conducted by archdiocesan Catholic Social Services to educate youth entrusted to it by Philadelphia Family Court, reports one of the highest high school graduation rates of the past 30 years.
This June saw 24 young men graduate through its residential program at St. Gabriel’s Hall, Audubon, along with 32 who graduated in January.
The day program, based at De La Salle Vocational in Bensalem, had 18 June graduates and 39 in January, for a system-wide total of 113 graduates.
“A high school diploma combined with career technical education is the best combination of outcomes for our youth and raises the probability that they will not run into further problems and be able to get a job, pursue further training and become productive citizens,” said Joseph Lavoritano, executive director of the St. Gabriel System.
Young men who arrive at “St. Gabe’s” or “DelVoc,” as they are popularly known, often come with serious gaps in their education, relational skills and family/community support systems.
While getting up to grade with their academics, students enroll in career technical training to earn industry-recognized certifications in the culinary arts, building maintenance, auto repair services, Microsoft Office applications and landscaping/horticulture.
The academic curriculum is fully aligned with that of the School District of Philadelphia to ensure a seamless return to public schools by those students who leave before graduation.
St. Gabriel’s also takes pride in the integration into the community and relatively low rate of re-arrests for those who leave the St. Gabriel System.
The system traces back to its foundation in 1898 by Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan as the Philadelphia Catholic Protectory for Boys, popularly known as “The Pro.” Originally the entire institution was located at what is now St. Gabriel’s Hall.
For most of its existence it was staffed by the De La Salle Christian Brothers.