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Letters from the President

A Letter from Our President - June 10, 2019

Dear DePaul Prep Families and Friends:

The Class of 2019 has graduated. The underclassmen have taken their last final exam. Our hallways are temporarily quiet. The 2018-2019 academic year has come to a close at DePaul College Prep.

It’s been a momentous year. We celebrated our 5th year of operations as DePaul College Prep. And our 5th year of steadily increasing enrollment and academic success. We welcomed Dr. Megan Stanton-Anderson as our Principal. She brings a commitment to teaching and learning, academic rigor and mastery of content that has propelled DePaul Prep forward significantly this year. Just as importantly, Dr. Stanton-Anderson has placed a high priority on the social and emotional wellness of our students and our faculty through a series of programs and initiatives that have benefitted the entire school community.

This year also marked the successful completion of the 4th year of our 5-year strategic plan, Vision 2020: Faith in our Future. Significant progress was made in each of our five goal areas:

  • Learning Environment and Faculty Growth
  • Student Life and Community Engagement
  • Catholic Identity
  • Marketing and Admissions
  • Facilities
  • Finance

Of note specifically has been the growth of our academic partnership with DePaul University. I am proud to say that a number of our 2019 graduates have chosen to attend DePaul University including two of our ComEd Scholars who will major in STEM programs and will continue to benefit from our unique partnership with ComEd and the University. Our underclassmen and our faculty also benefit from the mission and generosity of the University. This summer 19 of our rising juniors and seniors will take dual enrollment classes at DePaul University for college credit. Earlier this spring, the University and DePaul Prep reached an agreement that enables our faculty who pursue a master’s degree in their discipline at the University to receive a 33% tuition discount. And in a few weeks, a number of our incoming freshmen who scored well on the entrance exam will participate in DSX, the DePaul Summer Experience on the Lincoln Park and Loop campuses of DePaul University.

In response to our significant growth next year, we will welcome more faculty, new deans, more counselors and weekly advisories for all students. Our commitment is to do our very best to help students to learn and grow – academically and spiritually. Our goal remains firm. We are a welcoming, academically rigorous, Catholic high school that is grounded in the core values of Faith, Respect, Excellence, and Service. These core values are our guiding light, as is St. Vincent de Paul’s central question: What must be done? We ask ourselves and our students: What must I do? to use my intelligence and God’s grace to better myself academically, to grow spiritually and to be committed to the service of others. If DePaul College Prep’s students reflect on and successfully answer this question throughout their lives, we will have succeeded in our work.

At year’s end, we hold Convocation for our underclassmen. Convocation is an opportunity for us to give thanks for the year; to bless our freshmen, sophomores and juniors as they anticipate their leadership roles in the new academic year; to thank those who are retiring or leaving for other opportunities; and to pray for a healthy and safe summer for the entire DePaul College Prep community. It is a sacred opportunity for DePaul Prep to come together through the common bonds of our core values, our commitment to one another’s well-being, and our awareness that we play a larger role in the future of our beloved City of Chicago.

On behalf of the entire community of DePaul College Prep, I extend to you and your families, our Convocation prayer for a summer of safety, happiness, peace, reflection and grace. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in August but for now, may you savor each day of this glorious season of summer.

St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us!
St. Louise de Marillac, pray for us!

 

With kindest regards,


Mary A. Dempsey
President
 

A Letter from Our President: Catholic Schools Week 2019

January 28, 2019

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,


On behalf of the faculty, administration and students of DePaul College Prep, I extend our good wishes for your family’s continuing happiness in the new year and our thanks and best wishes during Catholic Schools Week.  January 27 - February 2 has been designated Catholic Schools Week by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) as a way to celebrate our schools and to highlight the education and good works that happen daily in Catholic schools across the country.  Thank you for entrusting your child’s education to us at DePaul College Prep -- a Catholic and faith filled school.

There are more than 1.8 million students enrolled in Catholic schools in the United States.  DePaul Prep’s 500 students are proudly counted in that number. As our enrollment grows next year and in the following years, we are encouraged that DePaul College Prep will continue to enrich our city and the people who are touched by our community of faith.  We are proud to be part of the future of Chicago.

As in Catholic schools across the country, not all of DePaul Prep’s students are Catholic. Our religious, economic, racial and social diversity is our strength.  This diversity and every DePaul Prep student’s connection to our core values of Faith, Respect, Excellence and Service guide us and inform us. Our students and our faculty live our core values every day.  Sadly being a champion of our values and our faith is often challenging in today’s world. It’s sometimes an uphill battle for our faculty and administration to steadily guide young people to do what is right, just and kind when outside influences make the opposite behavior look glamorous. But their perseverance is also a hallmark of Catholic education.  Faculty and administrators who could command higher salaries in the public sector are drawn to work in Catholic schools because they believe in the mission – the mission to educate the next generation of ethical leaders, the next generation of scholars, the next generation of compassionate professionals, the next generation of global citizens.

This week as part of our celebration of Catholic schools, our students will participate in a donation drive to assist Maryville Crisis Nursery, Rincon Family Services and food pantries; they will learn more about St. Vincent dePaul and St. Louise de Marillac whose remarkable work with the poor four hundred years ago continues to inspire us today at DePaul Prep; and we will gather as a community of faith for the celebration of the mass.  We call this initiative by its Latin name: Ubi Caritas which translates as: Live in Charity and Love and God is There. We thank you for encouraging your children to openly practice their faith through these programs, and we thank you for making it possible for your child to be an important part of our mission and our work.

Finally, the faculty and administration wish to thank the Parent Association under the leadership of its President Laurel Elzinga for the marvelous breakfast they provided for us today. It was truly a thoughtful way to begin Catholic Schools Week and we are all grateful for your kindness and generosity.

As we celebrate the richness of Catholic education this week and every week, please keep the faculty, administration and students of DePaul College Prep in your prayers, as we will keep you in ours. It is a privilege to be engaged in this important work with you.
 

With kindest regards,


Mary A. Dempsey
President

August 30, 2018

Dear DePaul College Prep Parents and Guardians:

The 2018-2019 school year at DePaul College Prep has successfully begun. Classes and athletics are underway and the energy in the building is positive and contagious.  This is an especially momentous time for us because DePaul College Prep will celebrate its 5th Anniversary this year!  

More than ever, we are All In for DePaul Prep!  This year especially we invite you to join us in offering Cheers to 5 Years of Catholic education at DePaul Prep. You are our primary partners in the education of your child and we are blessed to have so many committed and dedicated parents at DePaul Prep. Many of you attended our New Parent Breakfast on August 14 and our Partners in Education Breakfast on August 23.  At both breakfasts, our new Principal Dr. Megan Stanton-Anderson and I had an opportunity to welcome you to the start of the year, to talk about our progress over the past 5 years and to convey plans for this year. Dr. Stanton-Anderson brings great wisdom, experience and energy to her role as our Principal, and we are so fortunate that she has joined the DePaul Prep team.

Dr. Stanton-Anderson and I invite you and your family to mark the official start of the school year by participating in DePaul Prep’s Family Mass, Sunday, September 9 at 10 am in our gym.  This is a wonderful opportunity to worship with other DePaul Prep families and to ask for God’s blessings on our students, faculty and families as we begin this important academic year.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

After four years of positive changes, we are now confidently moving into a thoughtful growth phase in our fifth year of operations. This year we welcomed a record number of freshmen (155) and total enrollment has grown to 500 students.  That trend will continue with your help and prayers.

And while we will continue to build on a foundation of trust, care and excellence in all aspects of our educational processes, sadly, we recognize that the start of our school year coincides with the announcement of a grand jury report from the State of Pennsylvania about decades of clerical abuse of minors in that state.  Like you, we are angered, horrified and disgusted by this appalling news. Church authorities failed these children and their families. That is inexcusable.

In times such as these, we as people of God must remain steadfast about the protection of minors in our care.  At DePaul Prep, we follow strict guidelines that include: fingerprinting and background checks of all employees and volunteers; safe environment and behavior training for all employees and volunteers; submitting to an annual database search by the Department of Children and Family Services verifying background checks; and Mandated Reporter training. As teachers and administrators, we are Mandated Reporters under Illinois law for signs of abuse and will not hesitate to take appropriate action immediately should situations warrant.

We place the highest priority on this responsibility.  Your children are sacred to us and we are committed to educating them in a safe, faith-filled and academically enriching environment.  I invite you to contact me directly should you have any concerns. Please be assured of our commitment to you and to the safety of your children.

I also invite you to work closely with us this year to remain vigilant about your student’s emotional wellness and academic progress.  We will be offering a series of training sessions for parents and students including recognizing signs of depression and suicide (September 5 at 6 pm); and time management and executive functioning (November 15 at 6 pm). Future sessions about college readiness and financial literacy are also planned.  Please check our calendar at www.depaulprep.org and plan to attend these important sessions.  

Our primary methods of communicating with you are through our website, online newsletters, and Schoology. If you have not already done so, please contact us about setting up your Schoology account. This amazing online tool enables you to see how your student is progressing on a daily basis, keeps you informed about homework assignments, and alerts you to important educational sessions and programs designed to keep you better informed about your child’s progress.

Finally, thank you for your support for DePaul College Prep – both in the past 5 years and as we embark on our very bright future.  We thrive on your partnership and wise counsel, and we are most grateful for your financial support which enables us to continue our progress.  

Join us on October 3 at Maggiano’s Restaurant, 111 W. Grand Avenue at 11:30 am for our third annual Faith in our Future Luncheon to learn more about DePaul Prep’s plans for the future. From October 1 through January 15, we will conduct our Fund for Excellence annual appeal to support tuition assistance for students.  We ask every family to contribute to the Fund for Excellence at whatever level is comfortable for you. We also ask you to contribute to at least one other fundraiser throughout the year. Here are some of the many opportunities from which to choose: All In Raffle tickets were sent home with your student today;  Poker and Casino Night on November 2; the Tom Kleinschmidt Endowed Scholarship Fund; our Walk to Wrigley in Spring or a new event – Spring Fling: Cheers to 5 Years! a gala party at Misericordia’s Jean Marie Ryan Center on April 13, 2019.  More information about all of these events can be found on our website.

Your contributions help us to bridge the gap of $3,600 between the cost of tuition and the true cost of educating each child. Your contributions ensure our future.  Your contributions help us to achieve our vision to educate young women and men who are committed to achieving justice, equity and compassion in our City, in our Church and in our world.

Please pray for victims of abuse that they may seek and receive help and comfort in their pain.  They have endured unimaginable horrors.

Please pray that God continues to bless the DePaul College Prep community and families.   In turn, I will continue to pray that we will always be worthy of your trust.

Thank you for joining the celebration of Five Years for DePaul College Prep!  

With kindest regards,


Mary A. Dempsey
President

Dear DePaul Prep Families,

On behalf of Dr. Stanton-Anderson and myself, thank you to everyone who joined us today for the Partners in Education Parent Breakfast. It was wonderful to see our returning parents and meet many of our new ones. As mentioned, we are sharing a link to the information and plans presented this morning. We hope all of our new parents will join us in being All In for DePaul College Prep!

I look forward to an exciting new school year with all of you.

Sincerely,

Mary A. Dempsey

Dear DePaul College Prep Families and Friends:
 
The hallways of DePaul College Prep are filled with the quietly nervous talk of our undergraduates as they prepare for and take final exams this week.  In only a few days, we’ll say farewell to these students and to the 2017-2018 academic year. 
 
This has been an extraordinary year in many ways.  On May 19, the first, four year class of DePaul College Prep graduated on the campus of DePaul University.  It was a lovely ceremony, preceded the night before by a solemn Baccalaureate Mass at St. Hyacinth Basilica.  The members of the Class of 2018 were our 82 pioneers. We’re proud to report that 100% were accepted to colleges and universities, 14 graduated as part of the International Baccalaureate cohort (full diploma and certificates) and 8 graduated as Illinois State Scholars.  They and their families enrolled at a new school in 2014 and helped us develop the strong foundations of academic excellence, faith formation and service which are the hallmarks of DePaul Prep today.  As the inaugural members of our new DePaul College Prep Alumni Association, the Class of 2018 continue to be leaders for whom we remain deeply grateful.
 
On May 30, we conducted our first Convocation for undergraduates, faculty and friends.  This will become an annual tradition at the conclusion of each academic year. Convocation is an opportunity for us to give thanks for the year, to bless our freshmen, sophomores and juniors as they anticipate the leadership roles they will take on in the new academic year, to thank those who are retiring or leaving, and to pray for a safe and healthy summer for the entire DePaul College Prep community.  As Ms. Flo Merkl-Deutsch, our Director of Mission and Values said in her remarks, Convocation “is a celebration of gratitude and an exercise in knowing who we are, why we do what we do, and why this place matters.”  Convocation and Graduation also gave us an opportunity to bid a special farewell and thanks to Mr. Richard Lang (43 years), Mr. Phillip Birch (39 years) and Dr. James Quaid our transformative Principal for the past 5 years, as they move to the next phases of their lives. 
 
This July, we will welcome our new Principal, Dr. Megan Stanton-Anderson.  She will continue to lead DePaul Prep forward academically and actively direct the faith formation of our students.  Dr. Quaid, Dr. Stanton-Anderson and I have already begun to meet to ensure a smooth transition.  You will be hearing more from Dr. Stanton-Anderson this summer, and I look forward to our families getting to know her.  The Board of Directors and I are confident that you will be very pleased that she has accepted our invitation to become DePaul Prep’s next academic leader.
 
Last week the Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial entitled “The Catholic School Difference”.  The editors cited research which confirms what you and we experience every day.  That is, that self-discipline which is regularly reinforced in Catholic schools helps students in their studies today but also later in life.  The study conducted at the University of California-Santa Barbara analyzed national data and found a strong correlation between the self-discipline which is valued and reinforced in Catholic schools and overall better student behavior. They offer three key judgments:
 

  1. Schools that value and focus on self-discipline will likely do a better job of fostering it in children.
  2. Other schools should consider both explicit and implicit methods to replicate a “Catholic Schools Effect.”
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of religion to positively influence a child’s behavior.

 
At DePaul Prep, we know that self-discipline, faith and respect foster better relationships and allow students to focus on achieving academic success rather than on correcting bad behaviors.  Many students remark to us that what they like best about DePaul Prep is the welcoming attitude among students, faculty and administrators.  That welcoming attitude doesn’t happen spontaneously.  It is a result of a great deal of dedicated work by our faculty and administrators to reinforce our core values of Faith, Respect, Excellence and Service each and every day.  It is our belief that every student can learn, that every student is valued, that every person is to be respected, that every person is a child of God.  And it is a result of continuing to work with our students to answer St. Vincent de Paul’s central question: What Must Be Done? to make ours a more just, inclusive and equitable society.
I conclude this last President’s letter of the academic year with Ms. Merkl-Deutsch’s final words at Convocation:

“As we enter into the season of summer, embrace the opportunity to rest. Rest is sacred, and renewal is necessary. Enjoy quiet moments to listen and allow for the gifts of this year to become part of you.
 
I offer one last thought from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day”:
 
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”

 
May God continue to bless you and all you hold dear. I wish you and your families a summer of peace, faith, good health and great joy.  We look forward to welcoming everyone back in August but for now, savor each day of this glorious season of summer.

With kindest regards,

Mary Dempsey
President, DePaul College Prep

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