updated/corrected post 11AM
Principally Speaking by John T. Coleman
Transitions can be tough, but offer the opportunity for growth and improvement. And so it is this summer at Gloucester Catholic as we close our beloved “Annex” and move into the renovated Saint Mary’s School.
The “Old Building” on Burlington Street said good bye to her last students in June. Gloucester Catholic’s first home, known through the decades as Saint Mary’s High School, the Boys’ Building and the Annex, opened its doors in 1926. GC heroes, such as Sister Martha Mary and Father John Sullivan, walked the halls. This proud old lady has served us well, and we are grateful for her 86 years of devoted service. Our campus will now expand to the former Saint Mary’s School, adjacent to our Main Building. Extensive renovations have begun and include a new heating system, as well as new flooring and lighting. This large building will provide classrooms for our junior high and freshmen, as well as house the Advancement and Admissions Offices. More renovations will take place in the Main Building as we transform the library into a state-of-the-art media center. It is shaping up to be quite a busy summer for our staff.
Commencement for the Class of 2012 was, as always, a memorable event. Graduation Day began with our annual Senior Awards Brunch at Auletto’s. Msgr. James Curran, pastor of Saint Mary’s Parish, Gloucester was the main celebrant of the Baccalaureate Mass at Saint Agnes Church. Former faculty member and homilist, Father David Beebe, regaled his audience with the opening line: “Once a Ram, Always a Ram!” Commencement ceremonies immediately followed the Mass with Executive Director of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Camden, Nick Regina, conferring diplomas to our 170 graduates.
On June 5, I was honored to present diplomas to the 22 first graduates of Gloucester Catholic Junior High School. The Baccalaureate Mass and graduation ceremony at Saint Mary’s Church was preceded by an Awards Brunch at the Metro Diner for the eighth graders and their families.
Another proud moment came on June 9th when the Ram baseball team captured the Non-Public A State Crown, their 16th state title, the most in New Jersey history. The Rams defeated Don Bosco Prep, the top-ranked team in the state and ended the season as Number 20 in USA Today’s Top 25 national rankings. Congratulations to Coach Dennis Barth and an outstanding group of young gentlemen athletes. What a season!
It was good to see so many alums at the Annual Father John Sullivan Golf Tournament on June 11, and I look forward to greeting others on August 11 at our annual “Rams on the Reef” in North Wildwood.
Progress continues with our efforts to build an athletic complex in Deptford Township. Final approval from the Gloucester County Planning Board is expected in July and work will commence immediately thereafter on the practice fields. Plans are taking shape to launch a capital campaign to finance this important project. As most people know, the need for practice and playing fields is staggering. Our kids currently play “home” games at 10 different locations. I want to emphasize, however, that we view this project not just as an athletic complex, but as an effort to ensure the future of Gloucester Catholic.
Our goal is to maintain the competitive edge and to create a footprint in Gloucester County so that Gloucester Catholic remains an option for families. I promise to keep you posted on this important project.
I close looking back on the great accomplishments and blessings of the past school year. The coming school year promises to be just as exciting.
Have a great summer!
John T. Colman
The original “Saint Mary’s High School” building, known throughout the decades as the “Boys’ Building” and the “Annex”, closed its door in June as Gloucester Catholic has expanded to the former Saint Mary’s School. Extensive renovations have begun in the former elementary building, which will provide Gloucester Catholic with much-needed classroom and office space.