Northeast Times

Teen thanks Rotary support

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Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School ju­ni­or Nick Roche at­ten­ded last week’s Rotary Club of Frank­ford-North­east meet­ing to thank mem­bers for spon­sor­ing his par­ti­cip­a­tion in a re­cent pro­gram.

Sev­enty-eight high school stu­dents took part in the Rotary Youth Lead­er­ship Awards pro­gram, which took place Feb. 24-26 at the Freedoms Found­a­tion in Val­ley Forge.

The pro­gram en­cour­ages cit­izen­ship and per­son­al growth.

“It was really a learn­ing ex­per­i­ence, but we had fun with it as well,” Roche said.

Roche showed pic­tures of the ex­per­i­ence. His 11-mem­ber team was named Best Team. Its name was Team Lin­san­ity, chosen to hon­or New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, who has be­come an overnight su­per­star in the NBA.

For the tal­ent show, he per­formed a salsa dance with a Venezuelan ex­change stu­dent. He plans to stay in touch with many of the new friends he met.

At Ry­an, he is part of the 24-mem­ber stu­dent coun­cil and will run for stu­dent body pres­id­ent in late April. He also makes the morn­ing sports an­nounce­ments on Ry­an’s TV news show. His fa­vor­ite an­noun­cer re­mains Phil­lies broad­caster Harry Kalas, who died in 2009.

The teen was ac­com­pan­ied to the March 13 meet­ing by Ry­an pres­id­ent Mike McArdle and dir­ect­or of ad­vance­ment Bill Brady.

McArdle dis­cussed the roller-coast­er school year, which star­ted with a nearly two-week strike by teach­ers and con­tin­ued with re­com­men­ded school clos­ings in Janu­ary.

Of course, a tre­mend­ous out­pour­ing of money led Arch­bish­op Charles J. Chaput to re­ject a blue rib­bon com­mis­sion’s re­com­mend­a­tion that St. Hubert, Con­well-Egan, West Cath­ol­ic and Monsignor Bon­ner/Arch­bish­op Pren­der­gast close due to op­er­at­ing de­fi­cits and de­clin­ing en­roll­ment.

“There’s nev­er been a school year like this one,” said McArdle, who has worked in Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia high schools since 1977.

McArdle said now is no time for the 17 high schools to be­come com­pla­cent.

“Many chal­lenges still face us as we go for­ward,” he said.

McArdle noted that tu­ition will rise $250 next year to $5,850. The school pres­id­ent sym­path­izes with par­ents strug­gling to pay tu­ition, par­tic­u­larly if they’ve lost a job due to lay­off or ill­ness.

Over the next five years, the arch­diocese and its sup­port­ers hope to raise $120 mil­lion for schools. High schools would re­ceive $100 mil­lion, and the rest would go to ele­ment­ary schools.

“We have a chal­lenge ahead of us,” McArdle said.

McArdle ac­know­ledged that Cath­ol­ic high schools have lost en­roll­ment to charter schools.

“It’s not go­ing to cost you five-thou­sand, eight-hun­dred and fifty dol­lars to go to a charter school,” he said. “It’s free.”

McArdle is a fan of the state’s Edu­ca­tion­al Im­prove­ment Tax Cred­it pro­gram, which gives tax cred­its to com­pan­ies that donate money to schol­ar­ship or­gan­iz­a­tions, which in turn provide tu­ition-as­sist­ance funds to non-pub­lic schools.

Busi­nesses that want to sup­port Ry­an through the EITC can con­tact Brady at 215-637-1800, Ext. 286 or bbrady@arch­bish­op­ry­an.com

The Rotary Club of Frank­ford-North­east meets every Tues­day from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. at Cannstat­ter’s, at 9130 Academy Road. ••

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You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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