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Gloucester Catholic Family a Key Influence to Kupchas, Kellys

By Gus Ostrum

GLOUCESTER CITY NJ-Both Paul Kupcha and wife Grace Kelly Kupcha, members of the Class of 1978, agree that their Gloucester Catholic roots yielded a positive influence on their lives. But the high school sweethearts and successful GCHS grads say they benefitted from their alma mater in different ways.The GCHS alumni, who were married in 1985 and reside in Northern Delaware, credit their alma mater for providing them life-long direction that has been positive in many ways.

Teacher-Student Relationships

One key life lesson that Paul and Grace never forgot is the strong relationship between a teacher and a student, and the influence that relationship has on a young person’s life. Both Paul and Grace never forgot the dedicated teachers who guided them through their scholastic careers.

Paul says he benefitted from a strong relationship with Msgr. Andrew Martin, a beloved Latin teacher and former administrator at Gloucester Catholic. “Father Martin was always close with our family and very approachable,” Paul said.“That’s always so important when you’re a teenager growing up. He was instrumental in helping me build self-confidence.”

Grace’s key influence was former English teacher and administrator, Dr. David Coghlan. She also gives plenty of praise to Father Martin, Mr. Bob Nark, and Sister Ann Leo, all highly regarded and beloved GC educators.“These are individuals who were always there for me and took an interest in my success,” Grace said.“I will always be grateful for their guidance.”

Additional GCHS Influences

Paul, a successful orthopedic surgeon in Delaware, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 and his medical degree from Georgetown University Medical School in 1986. He later served a stint in the U.S. Army and completed his residency at Jefferson University Hospital before settling into his medical career.

Paul’s Number One influence from Gloucester Catholic – his future wife Grace – was always nearby, whether it was in or outside the classroom. He and Grace knew each other throughout high school, and started to date when they were seniors in the fall of 1977. “Grace is an amazing person – she always makes sacrifices for her family....every single day,” Paul said.“This is as true today as it was when we were students. Grace’s dedication to and love for family has had a major impact on me throughout my life.”

Attending Gloucester Catholic yielded another major benefit for Grace – a solid comfort level and lots of self-confidence. She will always be grateful to her teachers and friends as a result.A member of the Lady Rams’ state championship basketball teams in the 1970s and a solid all-around student, Grace attended Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, earning a BS degree in fashion merchandising

Grace and Paul Kupcha

in 1982. Her GCHS experience prepared her well for college and life. Grace had a keen sense that she would succeed at Gloucester Catholic before she even began her freshman year. Following her graduation from St.Mary’s Grammar School, she could hardly wait to get started.

“Of course I had several family members and friends already going here, so I was ready to

jump right in,” she said. “My friends and teachers were always a second family to me, and I can’t stress how important that is to a high school student. I always

had such a comfort level here and I gained a lot of self-confidence.”

Growing Up in Large Families

Both Grace and Paul grew up in large families who have had profound influences on Gloucester Catholic through the last several decades. Grace is the youngest of seven Kelly siblings, all of whom graduated GCHS in the 1960s and 1970s starting with Frank Kelly in 1963 and concluding with Grace in 1978. Other Kelly family alumni include Mike (1966), Mary Kathleen (1968),Terry (1972), Bill (1974), and Paul (1976).Their mom and dad, Dr. Frank Kelly and Catherine Kelly, also made valuable contributions to the Gloucester Catholic community through the years. “Our families have always been what we are all about, and Gloucester Catholic has contributed in so many ways to our families,” Grace said. “GC was just a perfect fit for us, and we loved growing up here and giving back.”

Paul’s family includes Joe (1976), Bob (1977), Mary (1979), Margaret (1981), Kathy (1983), Patricia (1985) and Steve (1989). His brother, Bob Kupcha ’77 has passed away and the Gloucester Catholic’s annual Ross-Kupcha Race honors his memory.The Kupcha parents, Andrew and Mary Lou, were each practicing nurses who made untold sacrifices to send their kids to GC.

“We wouldn’t be the people we are today without our families,” Paul said.“We always had such great love and support around us, and that really meshed well with Gloucester Catholic.” 

source Ramblings 2012 Winter Edition Gloucester Catholic HIgh School

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