Archbishop Ryan, Holy Family create partnership

In agree­ment: Sis­ter Francesca On­ley, pres­id­ent of Holy Fam­ily and Mi­chael McArdle, pres­id­ent of Arch­bish­op Ry­an, shake hands and ex­change gifts as a sign of re­spect dur­ing a news con­fer­ence. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHO­TOS

In late Janu­ary, Arch­bish­op Ry­an As­sist­ant Prin­cip­al Jim Meredith e-mailed Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity with a pro­pos­al. 

Meredith wanted to see if Holy Fam­ily could of­fer some col­lege-level courses to give Ry­an stu­dents a found­a­tion for col­lege. Ar­thur Goon, the uni­versity’s new chief en­roll­ment of­ficer, worked with Meredith on the spe­cif­ics of the plan.

Last week, top ad­min­is­trat­ors at the high school, the uni­versity and the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia signed off on a new part­ner­ship that will al­low Ry­an stu­dents to take courses to sat­is­fy gradu­ation re­quire­ments and count as cred­its upon en­roll­ment at Holy Fam­ily. The courses will be offered be­gin­ning in Septem­ber at the high school. 

“High school stu­dents will get an in­valu­able taste of the col­lege ex­per­i­ence and will do it right on the third floor of Ry­an,” Meredith said. “I think it’s go­ing to be great for the school.”

Sis­ter Francesca On­ley, pres­id­ent of Holy Fam­ily, led cheers of “Go Holy Fam­ily” and “We are A.R.” dur­ing a March 20 news con­fer­ence in Ry­an’s aud­it­or­i­um. She said Holy Fam­ily will wel­come the high school stu­dents as part of its fam­ily, adding that it’s a joy to join Ry­an in shar­ing the re­spons­ib­il­ity to of­fer a val­ues-based edu­ca­tion to young people.

On­ley, who was joined by uni­versity prov­ost Sis­ter Maur­een Mc­Gar­rity and four stu­dent am­bas­sad­ors, said Holy Fam­ily is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing area Cath­ol­ic high schools. The part­ner­ship will be­ne­fit fam­il­ies in these tough eco­nom­ic times, she said, by al­low­ing their chil­dren to earn col­lege cred­its for just $200 a course.

“In help­ing you,” she told the stu­dents, “we help your fam­il­ies. We help the people of North­east Phil­adelphia.”

The arch­diocese ap­proves of the pact.

Bish­op Mi­chael Fitzger­ald led the crowd in pray­ers and a bless­ing.

Car­ol Cary, su­per­in­tend­ent of sec­ond­ary schools, said the ar­range­ment en­hances the mis­sion, core val­ues and be­liefs shared by both aca­dem­ic in­sti­tu­tions.

Ca­sey Carter, chief ex­ec­ut­ive of­ficer of the Faith in the Fu­ture Found­a­tion, which man­ages the arch­diocese’s 17 high schools, said one of the found­a­tion’s ten­ets is to pre­pare stu­dents for high­er edu­ca­tion.

“You be­gin your col­lege read­i­ness the mo­ment you walk in the door,” he told the stu­dents.

The agree­ment has three com­pon­ents: ad­mis­sions and schol­ar­ship; dual cred­it; and con­tinu­ing edu­ca­tion.

Ry­an gradu­ates will be guar­an­teed ad­mis­sion in­to Holy Fam­ily as full-time stu­dents as long as they have at least a 2.5 grade point av­er­age. Holy Fam­ily will waive the ad­mis­sion ap­plic­a­tion fees, provide fin­an­cial aid work­shops and award schol­ar­ships to qual­i­fied stu­dents.

Ry­an will provide ar­range­ments for Holy Fam­ily ad­mis­sions and fin­an­cial aid coun­selors to vis­it the school to meet with stu­dents.

In ad­di­tion, Holy Fam­ily will waive ap­plic­a­tion fees for Ry­an teach­ers, ad­min­is­trat­ors and em­ploy­ees who en­roll in courses. Qual­i­fied Ry­an staff mem­bers will also be eli­gible for grants.

Ry­an pres­id­ent Mike McArdle and prin­cip­al Helen Chaykowsky en­dorsed the agree­ment. So far, 76 ju­ni­ors have ap­plied, and they will be ac­cep­ted based on aca­dem­ic cre­den­tials.

“We want to set them up for suc­cess,” said Meredith, as­sist­ant prin­cip­al for aca­dem­ic af­fairs.

At least three courses will be offered per semester. Classes will take place either at the be­gin­ning or end of the reg­u­lar school day.

The sub­ject areas will in­clude so­ci­ology, crim­in­al justice/law en­force­ment, Amer­ic­an pop­u­lar cul­ture/tele­vi­sion and so­ci­ety, philo­sophy/eth­ics and early child­hood de­vel­op­ment and learn­ing.

Goon, the en­roll­ment of­ficer at Holy Fam­ily, said he hopes the agree­ment will serve as a mod­el for de­vel­op­ing sim­il­ar part­ner­ships between the uni­versity and oth­er area Cath­ol­ic high schools. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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