Resurrection gets renovations as Ransom sets to close

— Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord School gets a fresh new look as it pre­pares to wel­come Our Lady of Ransom stu­dents.

Mem­bers of the Phil­adelphia Cath­ol­ic League Alumni Corps - fore­ground from left to right: Lisa Man­nion, Kelly Pren­der­gast, and Amy Gillespie - put up a new coat of paint at the Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord School on Shell­mire Av­en­ue on Sat­urday, May 19. (Brad Lar­ris­on)


As Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord School pre­pares to wel­come stu­dents from soon-to-close Our Lady of Ransom, the build­ing could use some renov­a­tions.

Enter the Phil­adelphia Cath­ol­ic League Alumni Corps.

The non-profit Corps was foun­ded last year by Gav­in Keir­ans, a Somer­ton nat­ive who gradu­ated from St. Joseph’s Prep in 2006 and Penn State in 2010.

Keir­ans, who served two terms as pres­id­ent of the Uni­versity Park Un­der­gradu­ate As­so­ci­ation, wanted to mo­bil­ize all of the gradu­ates of Phil­adelphia-area Cath­ol­ic schools for a series of ser­vice lead­er­ship op­por­tun­it­ies.

In Feb­ru­ary, Corps mem­bers gave a makeover to a three-floor former con­vent and day-care cen­ter at St. Thomas Aqui­nas Par­ish in South Phil­adelphia.

The folks at Re­sur­rec­tion learned of the good deed and asked for help from the handy and will­ing 20-something guys and gals.

“The par­ents and the staff want to make the school as wel­com­ing as pos­sible to the new kids,” said Ron Schwartz, a Re­sur­rec­tion ad­vis­ory board mem­ber.

Schwartz con­tac­ted Keir­ans, who gave the go-ahead for the pro­ject after dis­cus­sions with oth­er Corps mem­bers and of­ficers.

On May 19, about 40 Corps mem­bers spruced up the school build­ing, loc­ated near Castor and Shelmire av­en­ues in Rhawn­hurst. They painted the ceil­ings of four classrooms, the prin­cip­al’s of­fice, a room used for the hot lunch pro­gram and a room that will be used by two Our Lady of Ransom nuns who will work as a re­li­gious en­rich­ment in­struct­or and an of­fice aide.

“It’s won­der­ful that they’re giv­ing up their time to do this,” said prin­cip­al Joan Stulz.

Stulz will re­main prin­cip­al of the new Re­sur­rec­tion Re­gion­al Cath­ol­ic School. Our Lady of Ransom prin­cip­al Grace McGuirl, who was prin­cip­al of Ma­ter Dol­orosa School when it closed in 2003, is re­tir­ing. Eight teach­ers from Our Lady of Ransom have been hired at the re­gion­al school.

At present, there are 457 chil­dren in pre-kinder­garten 3-year-olds through eighth grade at Re­sur­rec­tion. An­oth­er 136 Our Lady of Ransom pu­pils are ex­pec­ted to at­tend the re­gion­al school.

In all, there will be about 600 stu­dents when school re­opens in Septem­ber. There will be three eighth-grade classes, up from the two now at Re­sur­rec­tion. And, in a pos­it­ive sign for the re­gion­al school’s fu­ture, there will be three kinder­garten classes.

All classrooms will be used dur­ing the 2012-13 aca­dem­ic year, mean­ing the Corps provided an in­valu­able ser­vice.

“It’s the least we can do,” said Paige Ken­ney, a gradu­ate of St. Chris­toph­er School in Somer­ton, Mount St. Joseph and Penn State. “We’re glad to help. What else would we be do­ing on Sat­urday any­way?”

The young people per­formed some pre­par­a­tion work the night be­fore and got down to busi­ness early that Sat­urday. The Re­sur­rec­tion stu­dents were re­hears­ing for their pro­duc­tion of An­nie while the work was be­ing done.

It’s an ex­cit­ing time for Re­sur­rec­tion.

Be­sides wel­com­ing stu­dents from Our Lady of Ransom, the school was re­cently des­ig­nated as a No Place for Hate by the Anti-De­fam­a­tion League for com­plet­ing a year of pro­grams com­bat­ing bi­as and bul­ly­ing. Stu­dents also wrote let­ters to the kids at Our Lady of Ransom men­tion­ing the wel­com­ing en­vir­on­ment they will ex­per­i­ence.

In ad­di­tion, alumni and oth­ers are look­ing for­ward to Resso Roars at the Shore, a par­ish re­union on Ju­ly 7 at Keen­an’s in North Wild­wood, N.J.

Corps mem­bers sensed that they were a wel­come pres­ence at Re­sur­rec­tion.

“Every­one is so ap­pre­ci­at­ive,” said Au­brey Bar­rett, a gradu­ate of St. An­drew in New­town, Mount St. Joseph and Penn State. “We’re happy to be here. It feels good to give back.”

Now that their work is done at Re­sur­rec­tion, Corps mem­bers are ex­cited to con­sider their next task.

“We feel there are ma­jor op­por­tun­it­ies down the line,” Keir­ans said.

Doug An­drews, a gradu­ate of St. Martha, Arch­bish­op Ry­an and Penn State, was glad to re­turn to Re­sur­rec­tion, where he played and coached bas­ket­ball as a vis­it­ing op­pon­ent.

An­drews said com­munit­ies in South Philly and the North­east have seen the com­mit­ment that Corps mem­bers have to turn­around pro­jects.

“We’re up and com­ing. We want to see how much dif­fer­ence we can make,” he said.

An­thony Christina, a Car­din­al O’Hara gradu­ate and seni­or at Penn State, said the Corps is a great out­let for young people.

“It’s one of the few or­gan­iz­a­tions out there that cater to col­lege grads want­ing to give back,” he said.

For more in­form­a­tion, vis­it phil­lycath­ol­ or check out the Phil­adelphia Cath­ol­ic League Alumni Corps page on Face­book. ••


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