Holy Ghost Preparatory School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Holy Ghost Preparatory School
2429 Bristol Pike
Bensalem (Cornwells Heights), (Bucks County), Pennsylvania 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
Type Private, Day, College-prep
Motto Cor unum et anima una.
(One heart and one mind.)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1897
President Gregory Geruson
Principal Jeffrey Danilak
Faculty 53 (2018-19)
Grades 9-12
Gender Boys
Enrollment 468 (2018-19)
Average class size 18
Student to teacher ratio 10:1
Campus Suburban
Campus size 50 acres (200,000 m2)
Campus type Suburban
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 1262
Publication Embers (literary magazine)
Newspaper The Flame
Tuition $22,500 (18-19)
Dean of Studies Geraldine Carmine
Dean of Students Tony Chapman
Director of Advancement Matt Dwyer
Admissions Director Ryan Abramson
Athletic Director James Stewart
Campus Minister Mark Whartenby

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.


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.

Since the arrival of Gregory J. Geruson, a 1979 alum, as the school's first lay president in 2015, the school has experienced some obvious forward momentum. Enrollment numbers are heading steadily upward, and the school's "Vision 2020" Strategic Plan has resulted in the building of a new STEM Tower. Step One of the STEM Tower, the Brennan Innovation Center, opened in August 2017. The rest of the STEM Tower was completed in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year. In early 2018, the school also opened the Holt Center, a campus jewel that will include a performing arts center, a multi-purpose gymnasium, music instruction rooms, and special training areas for baseball, track and field, golf, lacrosse, and rowing. The Holt Center serves Holy Ghost students but also will be available to community groups.

Student body[edit]

Holy Ghost consists of nearly 500 students. 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.[2]

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.[3]

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, Cabrini University, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Drexel University, Duke University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, The George Washington University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Northwestern University, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, Rice University, Swarthmore College, Temple University, University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Villanova University, Wake Forest University, Washington and Lee University, West Point Military Academy, Williams College, and Yale University.[4][5]

Niche ranking[edit]

Holy Ghost Prep was recently named the No. 3 “Best Catholic High School in Pennsylvania” and received an overall grade of A+ from Niche, an organization that reviews and ranks schools nationwide. These 2018-19 Niche rankings include all of the private and diocesan schools in the state.

Holy Ghost Prep received A+ grades in academics, college prep, clubs and activities, and sports.

In addition to being ranked third among the 74 Catholic high schools in the state in Niche’s 2019 rankings, HGP was rated the 88th best Catholic high school out of the 1,155 schools profiled in the United States.[6]

The main school building


HGP has many interscholastic and intramural sports teams. Major sports include basketball, baseball, ultimate frisbee, bowling, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, cross country,[7] 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.[8] The Firebirds have a tradition of excellence in all sports. There have been seven Pennsylvania state champions in school history: the 1972 and 1974 basketball teams,[9] the 1992 soccer team,[10] and, most recently, the 2011 tennis team. In 2013 and 2014, the soccer team won the PIAA state championship. In 2015, the hockey team won its first state championship. J.R. McIlwain ('93) won the 400m in 1992 PIAA state track championships and followed that with the 800m title in 1993. Holy Ghost Preparatory School also added a rowing team in the Fall of 2015.

Extracurricular programs[edit]

More than seventy-five percent of Holy Ghost students compete in interscholastic athletics and all HGP students are involved in extracurricular activities.[citation needed]

Christian service program[edit]

Freshmen and sophomores are required to participate in 10 hours of service, annually, while juniors and seniors are required to participate in 20 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 is consistently the strongest activity of the school. Longtime coach Tony Figliola was inducted into the National Forensics League Hall of Fame in 2007.

Entrance sign to the school campus


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.

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. ^ "Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools", accessed November 6, 2010.
  3. ^ “2007 Siemens Awards for AP Winners” Archived 2010-06-28 at the Wayback Machine.,”Siemens Foundation", accessed November 6, 2010.
  4. ^ "College Destinations", "College Destinations", accessed November 13, 2010.
  5. ^ "Holy Ghost Prep College Acceptance Rates", "Information Supplement", accessed November 13, 2010.
  6. ^ "2019 Best Catholic High Schools in Pennsylvania". Niche. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  7. ^ "CROSS COUNTRY: Holy Smokes – Holy Ghost takes 15th straight Bicentennial Athletic League title", Bucks Local News, accessed November 6, 2010.
  8. ^ "League Athletics", "League Athletics", accessed November 6, 2010.
  9. ^ "PIAA High School Basketball Championship Teams", accessed November 6, 2010.
  10. ^ "P.I.A.A. Boys State Championships", Pennsylvania State Soccer Coaches Association, accessed November 6, 2010.