More than 80,000 students enroll at archdiocesan Catholic schools

By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Archdiocese kicked off the 2009-10 school year last week, marking the back-to-school season as one of gratitude toward parents and guardians who, despite the current economic crisis, continue to make significant personal sacrifices to invest in Catholic education for their children.

More than 80,000 students reported to the Archdiocese’s 177 parish and regional elementary schools, 20 high schools and four schools of special education in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.

“I am humbled and awed by the many sacrifices our parents make, especially in this troubled economic time, to provide a Catholic education for their son or daughter,” said Richard McCarron, Secretary for Catholic Education.

“In an age where so many adults put their needs first, it is gratifying that our parents put their children’s needs first – and it is not easy,” he added.

“Our parents are the first teachers of their children and we thank them for entrusting their children to us so we can form and inform them daily in the Catholic faith and provide a quality Catholic academic program for them,” concluded McCarron.

Kennedy-Kenrick High School in Norristown and St. Pius X High School in Pottstown opened a new school year for a final time on their respective campuses. At this time next year, the schools will be consolidated into a new, $65 million state-of-the-art archdiocesan secondary school – Pope John Paul II High School – in central Montgomery County.

The former St. Martin de Porres Interparochial School, a Catholic elementary school in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, opened the year with 100 new students and a new name – the DePaul Catholic School. [See related story on page 9.]

Advancements in technology and science continue to make the grade in Catholic schools across the Archdiocese.

Netbook computers equip students with Microsoft Office applications and access to the Internet in the classroom, helping to integrate technology into all subject areas.

State-of-the-art science laboratories, including one at SS. Simon and Jude School in West Chester, and LabLearners at other schools are outfitted with the latest science equipment and interactive lesson plans that encourage group work and creative thinking.

A school that is literally making news is St. Andrew Parish School in Newtown, Bucks County. It has unveiled a television studio featuring a green screen, six monitors, professional cameras and a mixing board.

To help students get more bang for their bucks throughout the current economic crisis and beyond, Blessed Virgin Mary Parish School in Darby, Delaware County, has begun a business club. Taught by a parishioner who is a local entrepreneur, the club teaches students personal budgeting and basic banking, including how to balance a checkbook and avoid debt.

Archbishop Ryan Academy for the Deaf and St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments, located at 4251 L Street in Philadelphia, celebrated the joining of the two school communities at an assembly on Sept. 9. Archbishop Ryan Academy, formerly known as Archbishop Ryan School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, had been headquartered in Norwood, Delaware County, and included a satellite campus at St. Denis School in Havertown before relocating to the St. Lucy campus.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or