The upper form of Gregory the Great Academy traveled to Hudson New York this past weekend for the town’s annual “Winter Walk” festival. Each year the town shuts down the main street in town and the business stay open. Street vendors and performers come from far and near to celebrate the holiday season. For our part, the students performed several juggling shows while singing Christmas Carols and folk music on the street for passersby. Children from one to ninety-two expressed their joy at seeing the boys perform their juggling tricks and acrobatics. Many of the spectators joined in the singing even though it was a very chilly night.
Dear Parents, Alumni, and Friends of Gregory the Great Academy,
Old homes are often old loves. Powerful moments in life memorialize not only people, but also places. After four formative years embraced by the walls of our beloved Academy building in Elmhurst, I have a home-like affection towards her and was profoundly moved in returning to that home fourteen years later. Walking through those halls alive with memory and promise, I smiled to myself. The old girl had aged a bit since I last saw her, but she is still a beauty.
As you are likely aware by now, in December of 2016, I joined Sean Fitzpatrick and the team at Gregory the Great to launch our Homeward Campaign. We set out to raise $1.6 million to purchase a permanent property, the Academy’s original location in Elmhurst, PA. I was brought on board for this exciting and essential project as the Director of Development and to help lead the charge towards this important goal. And we have made incredible progress. The generosity you have shown has been awe-inspiring, and I wanted to share with you some of the milestones and successes you have helped achieve.
- Our opening phase, which announced our plans to purchase the Elmhurst campus, generated a tremendous show of good faith and support from our loyal benefactors through the early months of 2017. This initial announcement phase brought in nearly $500,000 and allowed us to proceed with confidence through the next steps.
- In February, we held our second annual Soiree outside of Washington D.C. With a rousing talk from Professor Anthony Esolen, a lively auction, and exquisite food and drink provided and prepared by alumni, the night was a smashing success, raising over $100,000 for the campaign.
- On March 24th, 2017, we officially acquired our new-old home and moved in with our students during Holy Week. Thanks to you, we were able to place a larger down payment on the property than we had initially planned, saving $67,000 in interest and fees over the life of the loan. For an institution of our size, this is a significant savings which will help us achieve our financial goals with more speed. We were blessed and delighted to hold our commencement ceremonies at the Elmhurst campus this Spring, joined by hundreds of family and friends. To see that beautiful building filled with youthful song and laughter for the first time in five years was a marvelous thing to behold. It was truly a joyous occasion that would not have been possible without you.
- On April 26th, 2017, the Academy launched a $100,000 Matching Gift Challenge through the generosity of the Fr. Edward E. Sipperly Foundation. If we raised $100,000 before July 31, the Sipperly Foundation would pledge an additional grant of $100,000 towards the campaign. I am thrilled to announce that as of June 30, we surpassed the $100,000 mark and qualified for the Sipperly grant!
With the $200,000 from the Matching Gift Challenge,
the total amount raised during this phase of the Homeward Campaign is $800,000,
50% of our ultimate goal. Thanks be to God!
With benefactors like you, we are confident we will achieve our overall goal of $1.6 million over the next two years. Reaching this goal is crucial for the permanence of the school, as paying off the entire cost of the building will allow more boys to experience this uniquely beautiful formation for generations to come. Your contributions have and will continue to change the lives of so many boys, just as they did for me when I was a student.
It is difficult to express sufficiently my gratitude for this overwhelming show of support from our community, but I will nevertheless make a humble attempt. On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students of Gregory the Great Academy, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The sacrifices you have made throughout the years have been to the Academy as a nurturing rain, and we are finally able to put down roots. We ask you to continue to pray that God blesses our work. We will most certainly keep you in our prayers as we strive side by side towards the Homeward Campaign finish line.
Christopher D. Smith (Class of 2003)
by David McMyne
On Friday, March 3rd, I took a group of students all the way down to the George Washington National forest right across from Shenandoah National park for a weekend camping trip. After a long drive south, we hiked three miles up a mountain on a trail that was at times extremely steep. Once we got to the top, we set up camp. The stars were breathtaking and several of us did not pitch a tent so that we could gaze upon them as we fell asleep. We woke up after a cold first night and ate breakfast and soon after discovered that the Northeast side of the mountain was much warmer and blocked the wind, so we moved camp. Then the guys explored the mountainside and the river, played cards by the fire or worked on their sleeping arrangements for the coming night. After a glorious sunset, the boys sang songs and cooked dinner around the campfire. After dinner, they told stories, sang more songs to the valley below, and went to bed early. The next morning everyone was up before sunrise. James Smith started a fire and we warmed up while watching the sun slowly paint the mountains and valleys around. After cooking breakfast and packing up, we hiked out and attended Mass in Front Royal, VA. After Mass, Peter Gaetano, an alumnus from 2012, and his wife Elizabeth hosted us for a fantastic brunch before the long ride home later that day. The trip was an unforgettable adventure. The Shenandoah mountains and valleys already harken us b
ack and the words of the folk song “O Shenandoah” echo in our minds as we dream of those special places in our hearts.