St. Mary Interparochial School Hosts Benefit Soirée

St. Mary Interparochial School hosted the St. Mary Soirée at Union Trust on January 30, where it honored Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) as a Partner in Academic Excellence and awarded Joann Sullivan with the Legacy Leader Award. Presented by City Plumbing, proceeds from the event will be used to fund physical improvement efforts for the school building, located at Fifth and Locust Streets. 

St. Mary specifically chose to honor GPA at the Soirée in recognition of the year-long partnership between the two entities, centered around educating local children about the significance of Philadelphia’s status and legacy as a World Heritage City.

“GPA has made us take a look at what makes us who we are,” said a representative on behalf of St. Mary. “We like to look at the past and observe it, but we don’t often think of how the past has affected us and how we fit into the picture. Additionally, it’s been fun to explore other, less familiar parts of Philadelphia that our students may not know about. It has also made us look at things we know well in a new light.”

In particular, St. Mary has incorporated a variety of world heritage-themed programming into the 2019-2020 academic year, such as hosting both individual and school-wide projects as well as distributing copies of the World Heritage City Coloring Book to students. Through this, students have had the opportunity to not only dive deeper into the treasure trove of Philadelphia’s history but to explore how they fit into Philadelphia’s world heritage story. 

Throughout the spring, St. Mary will continue their world heritage initiative by hosting events like their annual Walkathon fundraising campaign, which will culminate with a walk on May 20 to many of the heritage sites throughout the Philadelphia community. 

In addition to this, students will participate in a cultural food project, a “cuisine based community exchange with facilitated dialogue that will aim to bring an increasingly diverse school community and global cultures together to build relationships and understanding across the City.” The program is modeled after the Reading Terminal’s Breaking Bread Breaking Barriers program. 

More long-term, St. Mary is planning to incorporate more World Heritage programming into their permanent curriculum, such as by introducing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals project that GPA has spearheaded in Philadelphia. St. Mary also plans to host a school-wide celebration on May 28 to bring awareness to Philadelphia’s World Heritage City status. In accordance with its mission statement, St. Mary believes that implementing this heritage programming will help students to develop a global mindset and become “Christ-centered leaders of the 21st century.”

In addition to celebrating GPA, St. Mary also honored the work of Joann Sullivan, an instrumental voice within Philadelphia’s Catholic education community. For over a decade, Sullivan has served as a member of St. Mary’s Advisory Board and Board of Limited Jurisdiction, where she chaired the Academic Committee from 2010 to 2015 and served on the Advancement Committee from 2015 to 2019. Throughout her career as an educator, she has worked as a classroom and reading resource teacher, staff development specialist, and educational consultant to Catholic schools across southeastern Pennsylvania. 

St. Mary hosted the Soirée as a way of building upon the fundraising success of its Golden Jubilee Gala from last academic year, which raised nearly $100,000 that was used to make improvements to the school’s physical space. These improvements were largely made during the summer of 2019 and included the installation of a new heating and cooling system. By hosting the Soirée at the end of Catholic Schools Week, St. Mary’s was able to gather support from the entire Philadelphia Catholic education community. Through activities like the Mobile Giving Challenge, in which attendees were encouraged to pull out their phones and make donations, St. Mary was able to far surpass its fundraising goal for the night. This will ultimately support the school in its effort to “build the hearts, minds, and futures of our students in a modern facility,” according to the event program.

For more information about St. Mary Interparochial School, visit their website here


Article written by Amelia Winger on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association