Holy Ghost Preparatory School

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Not to be confused with Holy Spirit Preparatory School.
Holy Ghost Preparatory School
Holy Ghost Preparatory School (crest).png
Cor unum et anima una.
One heart and one mind.
Address
2429 Bristol Pike
Bensalem (Cornwells Heights), Pennsylvania, (Bucks County), 19020-5298
United States
Coordinates 40°4′46″N 74°56′45″W / 40.07944°N 74.94583°W / 40.07944; -74.94583Coordinates: 40°4′46″N 74°56′45″W / 40.07944°N 74.94583°W / 40.07944; -74.94583
Information
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
(Spiritan)
Established 1897
President Rev. James McCloskey, C.S.Sp.
Principal Jeffrey Danilak
Faculty 52
Grades 9-12
Gender Boys
Enrollment 517 [1] (2008-2009)
Average class size 17
Student to teacher ratio 10:1
Campus Suburban
Campus size 50 acres (200,000 m2)
Color(s) Red, Royal Blue and White             
Athletics conference Bicentennial Athletic League
Mascot Firebird
Team name Firebirds
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Average SAT scores 1240
Publication Embers (literary magazine)
Newspaper 'The Flame'
Tuition $15,400 (2010-11)
Dean of Studies Geraldine Carmine
Dean of Students Tony Chapman
Director of Advancement Chris Steger
Admissions Director Ryan Abramson
Athletic Director James Stewart
Campus Minister Daniel Ryan
Website

Holy Ghost Preparatory School (often shortened to Ghost, HGP, or Holy Ghost Prep) is a private Catholic college preparatory school for young men in Cornwells Heights, Bensalem, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1897 by the Spiritan missionaries.

History[edit]

Holy Ghost Prep was founded by Father John Tuohill Murphy, C.S.Sp. in 1897 as Holy Ghost Apostolic College, a preparatory school and junior-college seminary for young men studying to become members of the religious order of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers. In the 1950s, the school started to move its college-level program to Duquesne University and opened its doors to non-seminarians in 1959 for the first time. In 1967, the seminary program was discontinued, and a year later Holy Ghost Preparatory School was formed as a non-profit institution. In the 1990s, the school began a long-range planning process, which resulted in significant structural enhancements to the campus, and today its enrollment consists entirely of non-resident college-bound students.

In December 2013, a gay teacher employed at the school for 12 years was fired when the school administration learned he was applying for a marriage license in New Jersey, where he lived, to wed his partner.[2][3][4]

Student body[edit]

Holy Ghost consists of slightly more than 500 students, approximately 125 per grade. Located adjacent to the busy I-95 corridor in metropolitan Philadelphia, the school attracts students from more than 100 elementary schools from Bucks County, other metropolitan Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey.

Recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, Holy Ghost Prep is fully accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[5]

Graduation requires coursework in English, mathematics, social studies, science, foreign language, fine arts, and theology with many electives, including computer science, cinematography, and portfolio art. As a school for the college-bound, HGP offers an extensive honors and Advanced Placement program, preparing students to take AP tests for college credit in 23 areas of study prescribed by the College Board. A large number of students are designated as AP and National Merit Scholars, earn merit-based college scholarships, and perform well on the SAT. AP Calculus AB teacher Jerry Colapinto was awarded the 2007 Siemens AP Teacher of the Year award for Pennsylvania.[6]

Each year, 100 percent of its graduates go on to attend four-year colleges, with acceptance rates consistently higher than national averages. Over the past few years, students have been accepted to the following reputable schools: Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Drexel University, Duke University, Georgetown University, The George Washington University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Rice University, Pennsylvania State University, ], Swarthmore College, Fordham University, University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Villanova University, West Point Military Academy, Temple University, Williams College, and Yale University.[7][8]

Philadelphia Magazine ranking[edit]

In the September 2006 edition of Philadelphia magazine, Holy Ghost Prep was ranked eighth among top high schools in the Delaware Valley. Holy Ghost Prep was the top-ranked school with tuition less than $20,000, and ranked considerably higher than rivals St. Joseph's Preparatory School (24th) and La Salle College High School (23rd). Of all-boys schools, Holy Ghost Prep ranked 2nd.[9]

The main school building

Athletics[edit]

HGP has many interscholastic and intramural sports teams. Major sports include basketball, baseball, ultimate frisbee, bowling, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, cross country,[10] golf, and track and field. Athletic facilities on campus include seven fields for various sports, a fieldhouse holding an auditorium and gymnasium, and an all-weather track. Holy Ghost Prep is a member of the Bicentennial Athletic League.[11] The Firebirds have a tradition of excellence in all sports. There have been four Pennsylvania state champions in school history: the 1972 and 1974 basketball teams,[12] the 1992 soccer team,[13] and, most recently, the 2011 tennis team. In 2013 the soccer team won the PIAA state championship.

Extracurricular programs[edit]

At Holy Ghost Prep, participation in extracurricular activities is an important part of the formation of community "in one heart and one mind," emphasizing the school's focus on student achievement while still maintaining its spiritual focus. More than seventy-five percent of Holy Ghost students compete in interscholastic athletics and all HGP students are involved in extracurricular activities.

Campus ministry[edit]

A campus ministry consists of members of the Holy Ghost Preparatory Community who strive to promote a sense of spirituality and Christian character among the student body, faculty, and the entire Holy Ghost Community. It represents the community as spiritual leaders in our commitment to God, Christ, and the Christian way of life.

Christian service program[edit]

As part of its Spiritan tradition, Holy Ghost Prep remains committed to community service. As a result, freshmen and sophomores are required to participate in ten hours of service, annually, while juniors and seniors are required to participate in twenty hours of service. Students may participate in some of the following school sponsored service opportunities: Blood Drives, Habitat for Humanity, Hand-in-Hand, Operation Santa Claus, St. Francis Inn (a soup kitchen), Spring Fling, Taste of Mission trips to Harlem, New York and Appalachia, and West Virginia, and AARP.

Forensics[edit]

Forensics (public speaking) is consistently the strongest activity of the school. In recent history, the team has won numerous individual events as well as holding the record for overall team sweepstakes award at the PHSSL state championships, and is consistently a threat to place high at the NCFL Grand National Tournament as well as the National Forensics League Tournament. It enables students to develop leadership and public speaking through competitive performance in several categories, including Current Affairs Speaking, Persuasive Oratory, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, and Single or Duo Performance of Humorous or Dramatic Literature. Longtime coach Tony Figliola was inducted into the National Forensics League Hall of Fame in 2007.

Entrance sign to the school campus

Journalism[edit]

HGP's newspaper, The Flame, is published four times yearly. It solicits writing, art, and photography from the entire student body, discussing news, opinions, sports, and features. In addition, outstanding writers produce literary works, essays, and poems that are showcased in the school's annual literary magazine, Embers.

National Honor Society[edit]

Members of the National Honor Society are students selected based on criteria focusing on academic achievement, character, leadership, and service. They assist the community through tutoring, concession and book sales, and fundraising activities for scholarships given to rising sophomores.

Peer ministry[edit]

Peer ministers stress leadership in service to the HGP community, helping administration and student government with freshmen orientation and the annual Christmas Charity Ball.

Student government[edit]

Student government at HGP consists of an executive board composed of the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and spirit chair as well as of eight senators from each grade level. Elected student government members are directly responsible for the concerns of the student body and their appropriate presentation to administration to effect change. They work as a whole to promote healthy and spirited participation for attendance at sports and other school events and to conduct various dances throughout the year, including Junior-Senior prom.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  2. ^ Predelli, Chad (December 7, 2013). "Holy Ghost Prep teacher: I was fired because I'm gay". 6ABC.com. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ Gibson, David (December 9, 2013). "Catholic high school fires teacher who applied for gay marriage license". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ Matheson, Kathy (December 13, 2013). "Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher, Drawing Protest". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools", accessed November 6, 2010.
  6. ^ “2007 Siemens Awards for AP Winners”,”Siemens Foundation", accessed November 6, 2010.
  7. ^ "College Destinations", "College Destinations", accessed November 13, 2010.
  8. ^ "Holy Ghost Prep College Acceptance Rates", "Information Supplement", accessed November 13, 2010.
  9. ^ "Top Schools: 2006", "Philadelphia Magazine, September 2006, accessed November 6, 2010.
  10. ^ "CROSS COUNTRY: Holy Smokes – Holy Ghost takes 15th straight Bicentennial Athletic League title", Bucks Local News, accessed November 6, 2010.
  11. ^ "League Athletics", "League Athletics", accessed November 6, 2010.
  12. ^ "PIAA High School Basketball Championship Teams", accessed November 6, 2010.
  13. ^ "P.I.A.A. Boys State Championships", Pennsylvania State Soccer Coaches Association, accessed November 6, 2010.