Sunday, May 23, 2010

I never expect to see Warblers in this part of North Philadelphia. But this one ran into trouble, perhaps trying to navigate around the massive Gesu Church. This beautiful bird was resting in peace this morning on the sidewalk next to the Church. It appears to be a Canada Warbler.

So...following these pages this spring you will find trout, Eagles and now warblers, all not far from Center City Philadelphia.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Michael Mungai, SJU 2010, (center) hails from Nairobi, Kenya. He spent some of his adolescence as a street boy with other boys sniffing glue and getting into trouble. Two people who knew his potential share graduation day with him, his mother who traveled from Kenya for the event and Mark Orrs, an SJU graduate, who met Michael in Nairobi some years ago when Michael, then off the street, was working at a center supporting the needs of the street boys.

Here is a happy gesture from Desmond Shannon, Gesu '02, SJP '06 and SJU '10. His degree is in actuarial science and he will have no trouble getting a good job. I take some tiny credit because I helped him prepare for high school math when he was an eighth grader at Gesu. No student but Desmond during the years that I taught pre-algebra demonstrated in his or her work the careful line-by-line illustration of a mind thinking mathematically.
Leya Egea-Hinton graduated Gesu School in 2002, Shipley School in 2006 and Saint Joseph's Univeristy in 2010. I remember her body language during freshman orientation at SJU. It asked the question "what am I doing here and how can I possibly manage it?" But Leya handled her college years with great maturity. None of the rest of us had any doubts about her ability and character.

At the graduation at Saint Joseph's University, I ran into two Prep boys from the Prep class of 2006, Stephen Phillips (center) and Stanley Hendrickson. Stanley was a great help to the SJU Mission Office in the areas related to diversity. Stephen graduated summa cum laude. Congratulations to them both!

In this season of graduations, I attended that of Immaculata University. Christine Beck, the president of Gesu School received the Immaculata Medal and Philip Martelli, men's basketball coach at Saint Joseph's Univeristy received an honorary degree. I got to sit on the stage and read the citation (below)honoring Chris Beck!

Sister Patricia Fadden, IHM, President of Immaculata, let me join the photo op with her honored guests.
Christine S. Beck

Since 2003, Christine Beck has led the way as President and CEO of Gesu School, an independent Catholic School in the Jesuit and IHM traditions serving children in grades pre-K through 8. One author notes, “She makes everything happen, she’s amazing. Chris Beck is one of the greatest assets the city of Philadelphia has in the world of philanthropy…not because of the money…because she makes things happen.”

Those words were expressed by Mark Solomon, a member of the Board at the Gesu School in the book, A Model School: How Philadelphia’s Gesu School is Remaking Inner-City Education by Jerold K. Footlick. Over time, Mrs. Beck has become central to the mission and life of an inner city school dedicated to the betterment of the children of its neighborhood. While seeking a new charity in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary, Chris and Leif, her husband, visited the school for the first time some fifteen years ago and left impressed by what they had experienced. Thus began a new love affair with the children of Gesu School. A few weeks later a generous check arrived from the Becks.

Sister Ellen T. Convey, IHM , principal of Gesu School shares these comments: “Christine Beck is making education not only possible but effective in the challenging neighborhoods of North Philadelphia because of her leadership and creativity. The 452 children who attend The Gesu are well loved, truly challenged and enabled to become people who will enrich our society. Chris is a leader who enables all she leads to reach their full potential. Her compassion, her wisdom, her energy are an example for us all.” Mrs. Beck has guided the Gesu team through a highly successful capital campaign. Through the $12 million Building for Tomorrow Campaign which included a $6 million renovation project, the Gesu School has resources, services, and facilities which enrich the lives of the children of today and which give hope to future generations of young scholars. Gesu’s fundraising today focuses on encouraging generous friends to become sponsors of individual children at Gesu School.

When speaking of her students, Christine Beck says, “If only there were statistical parameters to measure inward qualities of character, values, self-confidence, and caring for others, our children would indeed score very high. Of course, to become productive adults in this rapidly changing world, children need both sets of tools - - strong academic skills as well as grounded personal qualities.” This quote speaks not only of an educator and a leader, but a caring woman who has seen through the faces of her students the challenges that confront them in everyday life. Here is a person who advocates that education exists for all who seek it even those in the most adverse of circumstances. Christine Beck models through word and example the essence of the Immaculata mission, developing the “truly educated person.”

Immaculata University is proud to present the Immaculata Medal to a woman who fosters Catholic education, who changes the lives of youth, and who encourages healthy living among all citizens. We honor and congratulate our awardee, Christine S. Beck, with the 2010 Immaculata Medal.

The Prep painting teacher, Jeremy Foldesey, taught some of our students to make water color copies of the works of Winslow Homer. The copies above, the top by Stephen Gliatto and the bottom by Ted Beck, remind me of my father. This Homer, Breezing Up, was one of his favorites. It reminded him, and those who were ever out with him, too, of some wonderful afternoons sailing on Barnegat Bay.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I had a great seat for the worst game of the season so far. The Phils lost to the Mets in this game on Friday, April 30. Poor pitching and no batting. Here Chase Utley adds little to the weak team effort.

So I go to the Proms, to the Senior Prom to greet the seniors as they arrive at the Sheraton with their dates. The dresses are greens and blues this year and I take only two pictures there, one of which is of the three young ladies above. After greeting about 400 youth, we leave and make a short appearance at the Junior Prom, same night but at the Hilton. And I take just one picture there at random , of Joe and his date. Little did I know how popular a certain dress was! It actually made me feel better when I looked again at the pictures and realized that, I guess, most of the dresses were off the rack. The young ladies looked great even in something simpler and plain. And I did not say anything to Joe!
I couldn't have planned these two photos!