Four Catholic High Schools Saved From Closure

By Pat Ciarrocchi, Todd Quinones, Mike DeNardo and Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– Four Catholic High Schools that were targeted for closure by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will remain open. Archbishop Charles Chaput made the announcement Friday afternoon.

Students at Bonner-Prendie, Saint Huberts, West Catholic and Conwell-Egan had been expecting a decision one week earlier, but the Archdiocese delayed the announcement after some anonymous donors said they would give $10 million to keep the four schools open.

The four schools were rescued from the closure list, after donors organized by developer Brian O’Neill stepped forward to fund an independent foundation to aid the schools. O’Neill says as the prospect of closing the high schools emerged, donors large and small pitched in.

“Each day one thing built on another. And it became clear that these weren’t just great traditional schools, but these were places where thousands of places were getting a break in life.”

Devon Fiore, a senior at Bonner-Prendergrast, stood with joyful tears in her eyes just moments after Archbishop Charles Chaput gave the word that Bonner-Prendie will remain open. She says the entire school gathered in Bonner’s auditorium, fearing the worst.

“Probably the greatest day in seven weeks for us,” said Fiore. “(There) were, cheers, crying, every emotion possible went through that auditorium,” said Fiore of the mood in the auditorium after the announcement.

photo6 Four Catholic High Schools Saved From Closure

Bonner-Prendie students react to Friday's news. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

photo 12 Four Catholic High Schools Saved From Closure

Juniors Genevieve and Maria show off their class rings. They are proud the school will remain open. (credit: Cherri Gregg)

“I don’t care what happens tomorrow. I don’t care what happens next year. As long as I am at West Catholic I am going to have the best life ever,” said Theresa Ta, West Catholic student .

There were hugs and tears on Friday after Archbishop Charles Chaput read the announcement that all four catholic high schools selected to be shut down this summer will remain open.

“When I found out this was closing I was in tears. Now that I found out it was staying open it was like a bomb being taken off my shoulders,” a Monsignor Bonner student said.

Father James Olson, President at Bonner spoke with KYW Newsradio.

“First I was just like, yes! We are so grateful for the opportunity because we’ll be able to go forward now for a long time.”

Olson says the school is immediately opening registration for next year- a win he says for Catholic education.

Listen To The Entire News Conference

Archbishop Charles Chaput says the foundation has a goal of raising $100 million over five years, and ultimately will help elementary schools as well. He says $12 million has been raised so far.

Presidents of all four high schools allowed their students to stay later than their scheduled dismissal time. The students gathered in their school auditoriums for the 3 p.m. announcement and broke out in cheers as they learned their schools had been saved.

To see where all the schools are in relation to each other, click the map below.

map 2 Four Catholic High Schools Saved From Closure

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  • Mike

    Glad all the schools will remain open, I wish Cardinal Dougherty and North Catholic could have had a chance to appeal their closings. Both of these schools also raised money and issued plans to remain open but to no avail. I anmvery confused what was different this time other than a new Archbishop ? This is totally unfair to two great schools and their alumni and students

  • cailin


  • Mama

    The people that gave money to keep these schools open had better put aside another chunk for next year. Fools

  • kate

    i’m happy for the students, i listened at the hair dressers weekly about st hubert’s and the fund raisers – but without the big buck donations this would not have happened. the students, parents, and adminstrators should be thankful some people with money cared enough to put the money up.

  • philly

    These fools paid millions in cash to keep schools open, while the church paid out over 3.2 BILLION in settlements ! They will be back in a few years claiming they need tax free money again

  • Big Daddy

    Church will do anything for a buck!

    • Alec Leamas

      Like, educate children and young adults at a loss? You’re truly a special individual, Big Daddy.

    • Seth Topper

      Yes they will because their theology of making money is incorrect.

  • Seth Topper

    Scientifically proving the nonexistence of god
    (A thought experiment)

    Either God is supernatural bereft from all actions in the bible or God is natural and the bible actually happened.

    Test & Result (A&B):

    With God being supernatural; then it’s outside of anyone’s reality so it can’t and doesn’t have an effect in the reality that it is supernatural to. If the God was able to affect that the natural reality then the God wouldn’t be supernatural it would be natural therefore proving the first claim to be incorrect.

    With God being real and everything in the bible did actually happen. Then why does the church want you to have acquiescence in God’s supposed environmental effect on your reality. It’s your reality regardless of your belief in God proving the second claim to be erroneous.

    I can’t say that your god isn’t real because it is real to you. I can say that your god isn’t real to me and it doesn’t have control over human reality. Human beings are relevant to their Nature or their Universe, so any mental constructs or ideas are human devised to gratify their ego or the egos of others. A bible is a book of authoritativeness. You have to believe everything in that chosen bible for it to be true. You can’t cherry pick certain sections and just believe them as many churches do and lay claim the whole bible as being true. The Holy bible and science don’t agree so one of them is incorrect. The Holy bible is incorrect because it can’t completely explain reality through the use of its prescribed laws. Science is better at explaining the sets of laws or parameters that must be established for comprehensive understand of the universal materiality we are made from not the Adolf Hitler’s religion(s) of Christianity.

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