NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Worth Reading: Surprise: Americans' Health Care Costs Expected To Rise in 2012

TIPS AND SNIPPETS: Education v. Sports; Thank You Dawn; Camden Diocese Wrong Again

William E. Cleary Sr. 
EDUCATION V. SPORTS...Gloucester Catholic High School Alumni 6a00d8341bf7d953ef01157142a733970c-800wi Association sent out a survey form this past week to a select group of alumni members asking their opinion on the idea of spending $4 million to build athletic fields and a media room. 
From the letter... “First, we want to transform 75 acres of land in Deptford into Gloucester Catholic’s centralized ATHLETIC COMPLEX. This land has been granted to us by Bishop Joseph Galante of the Diocese of Camden. The tradition of Ram sports includes 25 varsity teams and the need for practice and playing fields is staggering. Since our founding, we have borrowed fields throughout the area. The new complex is a short drive from school and will include an all purpose stadium with a turf playing surface, locker room facilities, and a full complement of 11 other grass playing and practice fields with outdoor lighting. These will support all our outdoor sports: football, soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse and field hockey. 
“Second, we hope to transform our library into a STATE-OF-THE-ART MEDIA CENTER. This “learner-oriented laboratory” will support, extend, and individualize the curriculum and equip students with marketplace skills. Our focus will be on new computer equipment and research workstations. Using the center’s educational technology will provide students with experiences, exploration, the chance for creative expression, and learning in a world context.
“To accomplish these two initiatives, Gloucester Catholic High School seeks to raise $4 million. There have been generous gift indications of volunteer and in-kind labor and materials already received.”
The survey was received via E-mail on May 16.  A few days later the news about the closing of St. Mary Grammar School (SMS)in Gloucester City was confirmed. According to Bishop Galante financial problems and declining enrollment was the downfall of SMS. Enrollment for the next school year was 153 students a decrease of 30. The grammar school’s tuition jumped from $3500 to $3900 for the 2011-12 school year which could explain one of the reasons for the decline.  Some of the same alumni that are being asked now to fund the construction of the athletic fields/media room for the high school were or will be solicited to support St. Mary’s Grammar School so the school could remain open. 
If you had the money what cause would you choose?   Is a Catholic grammar school education more important than high school athletic fields? 
I wonder where the money will come from to maintain the new sports complex? 
Personally I would lean towards keeping the grammar school opened. After all GCHS has been playing on borrowed fields since the school opened in 1926. The school has existed for 85 years without their own field (s). That fact hasn’t hurt their enrollment nor their sports program.  As for a GCHS media room I am all for that because of the educational value. Have the Diocese sell the 75 acres and split the profit between SMS and GCHS. The grammar school could stay open and the high school could have a new media room.
UPDATE ....Dawn will be back to work on Wednesday, May 25, according to a source... Dawn Burkhardt, SMS advancement director was suspended on Friday. Dawn is being blamed for leaking the news to the parents of the students about the school closing. Anyone who knows Dawn will vouch for her love of St. Mary’s Grammar School. She was a devoted employee who worked endlessly to raise money to keep the school opened. If she did anything wrong it would be that she cared too much for the school.  Thank you Dawn for your dedication and hard work.
Shame on them...Camden Diocese Bishop Joseph Galante along with others in the know should be ashamed of  themselves for the way they handled the news about the closing of SMS. An announcement in the Parish Bulletin on Sunday, May 15 that the school could be shut down started the rumor. This wasn’t a decision that was just made either. They had to see the writing on the wall for sometime. Instead of being upfront with the school staff, parents and parish members they tried to keep it hidden until the very end of the school year. Our phone calls to Msgr. Curran, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish and to Nick Regina, Camden County Diocese Executive Direcor of Schools for comment have not been returned as of this posting.