Saint Joseph’s High School capital campaign gains momentum
By Lisa Kochanowski
SOUTH BEND – “Susan Richter said to me early on in this program that failure is not an option and even though it is a cliché it is very true in this situation … Failure is not an option,” said Matt Edmonds, parent and school board president at Saint Joseph’s High School.
At a Forward In Faith campaign kick off party on Feb. 4, the community got to see a wide array of renderings that depict what the proposed new Saint Joseph’s High School building will look like when it opens for the 2013-2014 school year.
Edmonds spoke about the importance of a quality Catholic education for not only the youth of today but the youth of the future. He told the over-100 family, friends, alum, past parents, current parents and future parents that this project will create an environment that will educate the student both academically and spiritually.
“Our students can go out into the neighborhood and make a difference,” said Edmonds, who noted the opportunity to work at the Women’s Care Center, helping the children at St. Joseph’s Grade School and the homeless at the Center for Homeless. He feels this new location will not only allow for better athletic facilities but be housed in a neighborhood where they can truly live out their mission to help others.
One of the many organizers of this momentous event was campaign chairs Al and Mary Harding and Kevin and Marijo Kelly. The Hardings and Kellys embraced this opportunity because they believe that now is the time to rebuild the legacy of Saint Joseph’s.
“We believe this is the strategic moment in time for the renewal of the legacy of Saint Joseph’s High School. It is through the building of a new high school that this will be accomplished,” said the Hardings at the beginning of the campaign.
The Kellys said they see this as an opportunity not only for current families, but for generations of families to come. Honored to be asked to be involved, they looked closely “at all of the factors coming together for this project… We saw this as a generational changing project and one where we could help.”
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades was present at the event offering an opening and closing prayer along with remarks about how he appreciates all the hard work of the committee members. He introduced members of the community who attended the event and thanked them for all their support of this new school setting.
Before he left as bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Rhoades was involved with a capital campaign and joked with the crowd that he thought when he left he would be done with campaigns for a little while. He is very impressed with the progress of $22.8 million already raised and is cautiously optimistic for the continued generating of the funds to complete the fundraising goal.
“I ask you to look into your hearts and pray about this,” said Bishop Rhoades and encouraged everyone to make a donation to this worthwhile venture.
Saint Joseph’s Principal Susan Richter thanked everyone for their continued support and noted how honored she is to work with such a wonderful group of people.
Saint Joseph’s alum and architect Jim Schellinger of CSO spent a portion of the evening going over the plans of the building on an overhead projection. He introduced the plans for state-of-the-art classrooms that would be smart classrooms complete with the latest technology, a tunnel that leads out to the first-ever Indians football field and a café and canteen area for the students to enjoy.
At the end of the evening, everyone had the chance to view the plans up close and ask questions about the newly proposed structure. Richter announced that the Leighton Center has just offered a $1 million matching grant and informed everyone that letter and phone solicitations are underway to raise the final dollars needed to start construction.
Saint Joseph’s High School fosters Catholic values, education and community
By Joe Kozinski
SOUTH BEND — “When it became apparent that Catholic secondary education must have greater facilities for the youth of South Bend and Mishawaka area, a diocesan drive was begun in order to build a new Catholic high school.” These were words printed describing the successful outreach that began in 1951 and became Saint Joseph’s High School.
The $1.9 million dollar effort by visionaries in the early 1950s, boasting a contemporary design, was the foundation and motivation for the current Forward in Faith capital campaign that will grow into a new facility and foster Catholic values, education and community.
“Our strategic planning committee has been working on this project for more than seven years,” explained Susan Richter, principal of Saint Joseph’s. “We started with a focus on our current location and organized small groups that literally moved blocks around in available spaces on a site map to see what we could do to accomplish very humble objectives.”
“Shortly after we began that process, Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center offered their location that would be vacant after the new hospital was built,” Richter said. “The Saint Joseph’s community was involved in many discussions on how, if and when we would proceed with the Forward in Faith project.”
“The project needed to address basic needs to educate and associate an attainable budget to accomplish this,” commented Richter. “First would be strictly education and administration for approximately $26 million, the second tier accounted for; a chapel, athletic facilities and chemistry labs bringing the campaign to its current figure of $35.5 million.”
“Bishop John D’Arcy and Bishop Kevin Rhoades had 10 requirements that would govern the fund-raising efforts that included size, quality, timeline and funding that has us optimistic that our objectives can be met,” continued Richter. “It was also important to understand that there is a need for two vibrant Catholic high schools in the area and we will continue that core value with our facility.”
“We will be able to accommodate up to 900 students, which is large enough for opportunities in diverse programs but small enough for the family atmosphere and environment that our students thrive in,” exclaimed Richter. “Community is important to a school and essential to what we are doing here at Saint Joseph’s.”
Forward in Faith has been an ongoing campaign consisting of a leadership phase which is continuing and the general phase that kicked off today.
“The goal of course is $35.5 million, the leadership phase has as of today accounted for $22.8 million,” explained Jeffery Boetticher, Saint Joseph’s development director. “We are also counting on the sale of our current location to defer approximately $4.5 million of the needed funds.”
“The need now is $8.2 million. We just announced a matching gift of $1 million by the Leighton-Oare Foundation to the general fund,” Boetticher said. “The city of South Bend has been super supportive in all areas with our development.”
“A unique paradox is that so many people that are in different phases of life are getting behind the campaign,” expounded Boetticher. “Parents with young children are excited that they may attend the new school. Parents with college students are giving back saying ‘thank you’ and alumni are stating that the original sponsors in 1953 did this for us, and we can now give to our community for the next 60 years.”
“The generous outpouring of gifts so far has been exceptional,” remarked Boetticher. “The attitude rings the same, this is a good high school and good things happen to people that go here.”
The embodiment of the Saint Joseph’s community has been abuzz with anticipation of how they each can help and contribute to the challenge that lies ahead.
“Both our leadership phase and general phase to this project are equally important for the formation of the new facility,” explained Matt Edmonds, president of the Saint Joseph’s School Board. “Our strength lies within our students, parents and alumni as our foundation.”
“I like to assimilate it to dropping a pebble in a pond and watching the ripples roll out,” Edmonds said. “As the waves radiate out, so will the reach of our graduates into the South Bend community.”
As the words from 1952 were printed, “It is hoped that through the coming years this school, which represents the finest in secondary educational facilities, will adequately serve the needs of the youth in this area and will retain the purpose for which was built-a step forward in Catholic education.”
Just as the visionaries of the 1950s spun a thread that has intertwined generations of families with common Catholic Values, the Forward in Faith capital campaign empowers today’s idealists with a vehicle to give and inspire the area’s youth.
“This is an exciting and historic time for not only the Saint Joseph’s community and the diocese but also for the city of South Bend,” commented a jubilant Richter. “The support is overwhelming, we are energized and our community is engaged and connected, I’m humbled and fortunate to be involved with this project.”
Dr. Mark Myers, superintendent of Catholic Schools, added: “We fully support Saint Joseph’s High School in their quest to provide the very best environment for their students. Saint Joseph’s is a very special place; our graduates have shared their gifts, their faith and their Catholic values unselfishly for decades. We look forward to contributing to the plans to secure Saint Joseph’s High School for many future generations.”
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