Letters from the President

March 8, 2018


Dear DePaul College Prep families and friends, 

I am writing to give you some important news about DePaul College Prep.  In late February, Dr. Quaid informed me that after 5 transformative years as our Principal and academic leader, he has decided that it is time for him to move to the next phase of his long and respected career in Catholic education.  At the end of this academic year, we will reluctantly say farewell to Dr. Quaid and wish him well as he returns to Fenwick High School where he previously spent 21 years as a teacher, Dean and Principal and is a member of the Fenwick Hall of Fame.  In his return to Fenwick, he will be teaching and providing assistance to the school’s admissions and student services departments.

As Dr. Quaid has said, the transformation of a struggling school into a successful academic operation is a 3 to 5 year process.  Having succeeded in turning DePaul Prep into an academically strong school with a promising future over the past 5 years, he now believes the time is right for a new Principal to continue the next phase of this work.

The Board of Directors and I have already begun the search for our next Principal.  I am happy to tell you that Dr. Quaid has accepted my invitation to be part of our search committee.   He and I and the Board want to ensure that his successor will continue the accomplishments of the last 5 years.  Our intent is to have our next Principal hired before the end of this academic year in May. I will continue to update you on our progress.  Please contact me directly if you have any questions.

Dr. Quaid leaves us with a remarkable legacy of accomplishment. As our academic leader, Dr. Quaid was the architect of turning a failing school into today’s DePaul College Prep.  He revamped our curriculum, hired new faculty, expanded professional development, established our strong Catholic identity, implemented our academic partnership with DePaul University, secured our status as an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme school, successfully completed the AdvancEd accreditation process, successfully completed the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) accreditation process, raised test scores and the overall academic profile of DePaul College Prep, and helped me to implement our five year strategic plan – Vision 2020: Faith in our Future.  Thanks to his tireless efforts, DePaul Prep’s academic reputation has been firmly established within the City of Chicago. Our five straight years of increased enrollment are due in great measure to the school that Dr. Quaid helped to create here.

Any challenge that the Board of Directors and I asked Dr. Quaid to undertake for the betterment of DePaul College Prep and its families, he accomplished with intelligence, diligence and excellence.  But this has been a very intensive process filled with many long days and nights.  After 5 years of nonstop work on our behalf, Dr. Quaid feels that our foundation is strong and that it is time for a new academic leader to build on that base. He has more than earned the right to proudly acknowledge the enormous impact of his leadership, and to continue his good work with students at a measured pace that also allows him to spend more time with his family.

As a school community, we will come together this spring to thank Dr. Quaid for his tireless work on our behalf and to wish him well in his next role.  DePaul College Prep is the academically challenging, welcoming Catholic high school it is today thanks to him.  Our future is strong and our academic vision is secure thanks to him.  With God’s grace, we will continue Dr. Quaid’s work.  We are grateful to him for setting DePaul College Prep on the right path for success. 

Please join us in wishing Dr. Quaid many blessings on his continued work in Catholic education.

St. Vincent dePaul, pray for us!


With every good wish,

Mary A. Dempsey

President of DePaul College Prep



Dear DePaul College Prep Students, Parents and Guardians:

As I was preparing to send our DePaul Prep community a message about how we celebrated Catholic Schools Week and our preparations for the Lenten season, our city and our nation were again shocked by senseless acts of gun violence.  Seventeen teachers, coaches and students killed and many more wounded at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, while here at home, Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer, first responder, husband, father, friend gave his life to keep Chicagoans safe.  Innocents all, just doing their jobs and going about their day.  We deeply mourn their loss, we pray for them and their families, and we redouble our efforts to build a society that values peace and justice over violence.

As educators, our goal is to present facts, encourage exploration, and develop intellectual curiosity.  When faced with tragedies such as these, we collectively search for answers. As a community of faith, we turn to prayer and to each other for comfort.  As a school, we check and double check our building security measures and our safety drills and protocols.  We maintain our strong ties with our local police district.  In a school our size, we are fortunate to know each other by name. Our faculty, staff, counselors and administrators try to maintain a watchful eye over our students to be aware of signs that a student may be in emotional distress or pain.  We encourage students to seek help when needed and to be a friend when one is needed. We strive everyday to live our core values of Faith, Respect, Excellence and Service and to treat one another and everyone we meet with kindness, compassion and respect. 

During Catholic Schools Week, our students exemplified the finest spirit of DePaul Prep by collecting mountains of food, diapers and art supplies for the Elizabeth Ann Seton Food Pantry at St. Vincent dePaul Parish, Rincon Family Services and the Maryville Crisis Nursery.  Our Juniors went on retreat at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels Food Pantry, Misericordia and Rincon Family Services and learned about the grace that comes from service with compassion.  We are proud of how our students give of themselves to help others and we are happy that they learn a great deal about themselves and about the true meaning of giving from these experiences.

This week at our Ash Wednesday liturgy, Fr. Joe Malczyk, CR. delivered a beautiful homily about how Lent is not just a time to abstain and fast but a time to renew our efforts to be better people.  Our students certainly rose to that call in their collection efforts during Catholic Schools Week and their work and reflection during the Junior Retreat. In his homily Fr. Joe quoted the words of Pope Francis which are especially timely in light of the tragedies from which our nation and our city are now reeling.  I include the words of Pope Francis for you here.

Do You Want to Fast this Lent?

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and have trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.

Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.

Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

- Pope Francis


This Lenten season, may we all fast from hurting and practice kindness.

Remember Commander Paul Bauer and the faculty, coaches and students of Douglas High School in your thoughts and prayers. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

St. Vincent dePaul, pray for us

Mary A. Dempsey



Dear Parents and Guardians:

The 2017-2018 academic year is officially underway at DePaul College Prep! Our hallways are buzzing with the voices of students as they rush to classes.  Our faculty are rested and ready to engage your children in learning.  The fall season for our student athletes is underway.  It truly is a great day to be a student, faculty member or administrator at DePaul Prep.

In June, I wrote to our parents to talk about our theme for 2017-18:  All in for DePaul Prep!

At yesterday’s Opening Assembly for all students, members of our administration spoke about expectations for this year and what it means to be All in for DePaul Prep!  There were consistent themes in all of our presentations—open your heart to others as Jesus did, practice your faith openly, be respectful, be kind to one another, do your best, follow the rules, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be very proud to be part of DePaul College Prep.  DePaul Prep’s traditions begin today, and our students can say forevermore that they were here at the start.

We have much to celebrate.  Our academic partnership with DePaul University – the nation’s largest. Catholic university—continues to enrich our academics, performing arts and athletics.  Our faculty members are applying their knowledge and experience to their teaching in new and exciting ways.  Our parents are engaged and supportive of our mission and our core values.  Our students are eager to learn. Our enrollment is strong and growing.  We are absolutely All In.

As I did in my letter of June 26, I’ll include a few suggestions of how you can be All In, too.

  • Establish an account in Schoology, which gives you access to your child’s daily academic progress, upcoming assignments and communications from faculty. If you don’t already have a Schoology account sign on now. We will soon be communicating exclusively through Schoology so it will be important to have an account.  If you did not sign up at packet pick up days, email to obtain your access code. Include “Schoology Code” in the subject line. Once you have your code, go to:, click “signup”, then “parent”, enter the code and follow the screen prompts. This is your personal account. 

  • Attend the Partners in Education Parent Breakfast in our cafeteria at 7:30 am on August 24, 2017, where you will hear from Dr. Quaid and me about what the new school year will bring.

  • Attend Back to School Night on September 7, 2017 at 7 pm.

  • Attend the Opening of School Liturgy with your family in our gym at 9 am on September 10, 2017 where we will come together as community of faith as we embark on the new school year.

  • Volunteer with the newly organized Parent Association.  For information about how you can participate on a working committee, as a grade chair or parent ambassador, please contact Parent Association President Laurel Elzinga:

  • Attend the Faith in Our Future Luncheon on September 28, 2017 at Maggiano’s,  

516 N. Clark Street.  

  • Attend Parent Teacher Conferences in October.

  • Attend athletic, arts and academic competitions and performances throughout the year.  

  • Support DePaul Prep through the Fund for Excellence annual appeal campaign from October 1 through December 31, 2017; the campaign for the Tom Kleinschmidt Endowed Scholarship; Poker and Casino Night on March 3, 2018; Hoops Mania and Walk to Wrigley in spring and other fundraising events and opportunities throughout the year.

  • Consult our new website: for the school calendar and further information about DePaul Prep.

As we embark on a new academic year, we are filled with gratitude to you for entrusting your child’s education to us.  I conclude my letter with a reflection on gratitude by Thomas Merton, a monk, poet, and peace activist, which was read to our students in evening announcements at the conclusion of the first day of school:

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything God has given us--and God has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of God’s love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from God. Gratitude, therefore, takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”

Let’s all have a great year!

With kindest regards,

Mary A. Dempsey


All in for DePaul Prep !

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