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McHugh Media Studio

The creation of the McHugh Media Studio will offer students an opportunity to enhance their learning through use of state-of-the-art video and audio equipment. Some of the intended uses of the studio will be for students to create videos or podcasts about classroom topics, a TV broadcast of school news and other topics, and expansion of the work of student groups such as the WSJP Student Broadcasting Club and the Podcasting Club. The For Others Forever Campaign has created a facility with the latest equipment, helping students become accustomed to the technology they will use in college and beyond, giving them an advantage in their next stages of life.

I am so excited to learn how to use the new video and audio equipment being installed in the McHugh Media Studio. As the co-President of WSJP Student Broadcasting Club, I can’t wait for us to use the studio for podcasting, live productions, and our shows. Knowing this was coming, we made it a goal this year to move more into video production and this studio will be a major lift towards achieving that goal. Having this new equipment right in the center of the school in the Howley Learning Commons will help us be more prominent and hopefully give more students the chance to be involved in our club. It will also prepare us for making the next step into college and then into a media world.

Anthony Salvato ’23 Student

My wife Trish and I feel the Prep provides an essential bridge to success later in life for young men based on a strong educational and moral foundation. Our contributions to the For Others Forever campaign are one way we can help others now and in the future cross that bridge. It is essential that students are provided with the best opportunities for learning and growing in this ever-changing world. Technology is always evolving so we are glad the new McHugh Media Lab can provide an active modern space to foster creativity.

Kelly Foundation Design Center

The Design Center, equipped with Mac computers, will create opportunities for students to create projects across disciplines including engineering, math, graphic design, physics, robotics, chemistry, theatre set design, and more. From the design center, students will then utilize the innovation center to execute their plans using engineering equipment, 3D printers, and other materials. Faculty and students will partner together through the curriculum and co-curricular activities to identify hands-on learning experiences that will greatly benefit our students and prepare them for STEM-related majors and careers.

I am excited imagining the new academic and extracurricular opportunities presented by the new areas, especially the Kelly Foundation Design Center and the Innovation Center. The new center will give students the ability to fabricate items, using computer aided design (CAD) and new 3D printers. I am enrolled in the Prep’s Intro to Engineering course, and having a dedicated space to focus on independent design and manufacturing by students will allow us to truly blossom in courses like this as well as clubs such as Robotics.

The space has a “hands-on” aspect, with students using tools to build parts themselves. For example, if a student had to assemble a machine with screws, bolts, and other hardware, there is be a space for him to create and assemble such a machine. Moreover, as the Center develops over time, the ability to create components using other materials, such as wood or metal, will absolutely expand what we can do. The possibilities for this space are endless, and it can be used for anything to which the Prep and its students put their collective minds; the resources and opportunities are available, it is up to us all to use them.

Michael Ricci ’23 Student

The Kelly Family has supported every capital campaign for the past five decades and is happy to continue to do so. We have a great attachment to the Prep and we are excited about the opportunities that the For Others Forever Campaign will offer to the students, faculty, and staff.

When the fire came in my senior year, the Prep made the decision to rebuild in North Philadelphia. That was a bold decision and the right decision. Since then, the school continues to evolve and grow. This Campaign is another opportunity for the Prep to transform itself into something even better for the community, like it did in 1966 and has continued to do. We were happy and proud to support the efforts.

Virtual Reality Lab

The Virtual Reality Lab creates enhanced educational opportunities across every academic area of the Prep. From English where a teacher can utilize this new technology to transport students studying Shakespeare to the Globe Theatre in the 1500s, to biology students who can now walk through a virtual human heart, to Spanish classes traveling to Madrid, the possibilities are endless.

Seeing this space for the first time, I know that it is going to be fantastic, well-used, and much appreciated by the students and faculty who will get to take advantage of the many opportunities it presents going forward. I cannot put into words how excited I am for the VR Lab. I think that I'll be living there during my free periods! The fact that it's going to have 25 Oculus Quest 3's, headsets that haven't been released yet, is astonishing. Not to mention the gaming PC's that the Esports and Video Gaming Clubs get the most out of and the students can use themselves!

Having this kind of technology readily available is going to change the curriculum at the Prep. A real-life, virtual gateway to anywhere in the world at any time. For mental health purposes, maybe people would like to do mountaintop meditation. Maybe they've had a long day and need to vent some frustration by playing Beat Saber or another game like that. Or maybe they just want something fun to do with friends and compete to get a high score! It's going to be stellar, and I hope everyone at the Prep gets to experience these benefits during their time here, be they students or faculty/staff.

Jack DelPizzo ’23 Student

We support the For Others Forever Campaign because we want to help advance and expand the mission and legacy of the Prep. These modernized learning environments will provide students unique opportunities for collaborative and innovative work and the faculty with the resources to teach the next generation of learners. Not only will this enhance the Prep experience but ultimately will help the school have an even bigger and broader impact in our communities.

Connolly Counseling and Resource Center

The comprehensive Connelly Counseling and Resource Center is a key component of the Howley Learning Commons. Strategically located, the Center will serve as the centralized resource for all of our students’ academic and emotional support needs.

The goal of the Prep’s Counseling Department is to help every student make the most of their Prep experience, whether they are a top academic student or a young man who can benefit from academic support. Members of the Counseling Department work closely with every student on all aspects of their Prep life including social, academic, and co-curricular areas. 

By creating the Connelly Counseling and Resource Center where guidance and college counselors are positioned together in an easily accessible location, students will become more aware of the services available, resulting in students becoming more comfortable in utilizing them. Because all students will be entering the Center, for multiple reasons, the hesitancy that some young men might feel will be removed. It will become the center of activity and collaboration, not simply a lineup of students outside one counselor’s office. It will also allow for group programming hosted by the Prep’s College and Guidance Counselors.

When it came to finding counselors in the past, accessibility was an issue many kids often faced. With the addition of the Connelly Counseling and Resource Center, the Prep has solved that. With the ideal of cura personalis (care for the whole person) being something that is championed, having all the guidance and college counselors in the same place should help alleviate students' concerns, and nudge them in that direction. Now it is a place where students feel comfortable coming together and do schoolwork and have direct access to their counselors if needed. I am excited at the opportunities that will be available because of this new center.

Zach Reagan ’23

My husband Dan and I hope to impact future students in this relaxed environment where they can take a step back from jostling hallways and feel free to be themselves and casually interact with pro-active supportive adults who are able to impact their continued growth.

The vision set forth in the For Others Forever Campaign gives the Prep an opportunity to grow and support students for years to come.

Cape and Sword Theatre

When Villiger Hall was opened in 1969, one of its most prominent spaces was the Theatre. Along with the Library and Chapel, it was meant to emphasize the Jesuit educational tenet of “mind, body, and spirit.” Theatre is important to Jesuit education and was included in the earliest educational documents of the Society of Jesus.

The Cape and Sword Drama Society has rightly been a point of pride for St. Joseph’s Prep, especially in the past 30 years under the direction of Mr. Tony Braithwaite ’89. After putting on amazing performances in a space that was below their standard, the program has a beautiful new home and the Prep has a showplace for performing arts and other gatherings.

I am very excited to utilize all of the beautiful bells and whistles in the theater, not only for my sake but for the lighting, sound, and stage crew members of Cape and Sword. From the lights and new soundboard to the extra dressing spaces; the new space will grant us the ability to continue performing at a high level but in a setting that is more practical. Unique spaces like an extra dressing room will make our changes go more smoothly and comfortably. The new set rigs will grant the stage crew the ability to use multiple sets throughout the performances. Not only will it be more practical, it will also present the audience with visually spectacular performances worthy of the Prep stage.

Jahleel Johnson ’23Student

The Class of 1965 wanted to be involved in the For Others Forever Campaign because we wanted to support the Prep and the students of today. When we heard about the project to transform the Cape and Sword Theatre, we knew that was the project we wanted to support in memory of our classmate Bobby Walsh who died during our senior year. Bob was the best musician in our class and we wanted to connect him with the Prep’s amazing theatre program.

Our class was really invested in this project. We had 37 percent of us donate and raised over $250,000. We not only united in raising the money but a lot of my classmates have reconnected with each other and the Prep. It’s been a great experience.

Being a past president of the Alumni Association and having a son who was active in Cape and Sword, I know that our theatre productions are just remarkable. Because the purpose of our campaign was to honor Bob and raise money for the school, this was a wonderful opportunity. Happily, Tony Braithwaite ’89 and the Cape and Sword students have embraced it, even creating lapel pins with a trumpet to show their appreciation of our class and to memorialize Bob.

While we wanted to honor Bob, we also know that this campaign is for the students. Cape and Sword has always been top-flight and now they will have a top-flight facility to continue to present the work that they do.

Howley Learning Commons

The Howley Learning Commons is the centerpiece of the Villiger Hall transformation. Located in the footprint of the old McShain Library with direct access to the Dunn Welcome Center and the McKernan Family Lobby, the Howley Learning Commons is a student-centered space that focuses on achievement, innovation, and support. It houses many services (Counseling, College Counseling, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion,  Learning Services) that will assist students to be their most successful, at the Prep and beyond.

I really love the new Howley Learning Commons.and feel like it gives an excellent college-type of feel at the Prep.Before this was implemented, it was sometimes difficult to find a quiet place to study and get my work done. The lunch room was too loud and the Quinn Library was often crowded and there were just no other places to get my work done in silence. This gives me an opportunity to just digress and relax on my studies without any distractions. Also, the basketball team has done a few film sessions there and my teammates love it. It is great to have a place to go that's quiet and watch the film instead of watching in a classroom. There are so many ways that we can use these new spaces.

Olin Chamberlain ’25 Student

My wife Lorie and I have long believed that a quality education combined with a significant element of character formation is one of the best ways to provide upward social and economic mobility and help alleviate many of society’s issues. The Jesuits and St. Joseph’s Prep do an outstanding job of offering such a proven, high-quality program. Second only to my parents, the education I received at the Prep has provided substantial assistance to me in my professional and personal life and as well our work with the Howley Foundation.

When I was presented with the vision for the For Others Forever Campaign, I saw an opportunity to strengthen the school and help establish it for decades to come. Lorie and I are happy to see the physical results of this Campaign and are proud to have our name on the new Howley Learning Commons. We feel that this will provide the tools necessary for the Prep to care for students in a holistic way -- mind, body, and spirit. Also, we love the idea that our gift will enable so many additional students, no matter their financial situation, the ability to achieve the dream of a Prep education. We are happy to see the capital portion of this project come to fruition and watch the scholarship portion continue to educate students over the long term.