Fifty years ago this September, the first Paul VI students walked through the doors, ready to build their knowledge and skills to prepare them for the future while keeping their Catholic values at the forefront. Five decades later, the pillars of Paul VI High School’s mission remain intact: provide an education inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ while building its students’ spiritual, intellectual, physical and social development.
Located in Haddonfield, Paul VI is part of the Diocese of Camden. Students from across South Jersey attend the school for the curriculum, which fosters critical thinking, written and oral communication and scientific analysis. Additionally, students are strongly encouraged to participate in co-curricular clubs and activities—there are more than 35 from which to choose—creating a well-rounded individual.
“Students come to Paul VI for an education that is as advanced as it is Catholic,” says Katy Stewart, director of admissions. “We open our doors to artists, athletes, students interested in math, science or the humanities. What sets us apart are the many opportunities, the broad curriculum and the ability to provide students with the best, all set within an environment of faith. We’ve always been blessed with forward-thinking leadership, and our principal, Sister Marianne, and our president, Mr. Michael Chambers carry on that tradition.”
The academics at Paul VI are impressive and diverse, giving students a solid foundation for college while also allowing them to explore their personal interests and some career opportunities. This is accomplished through a variety of tools available to students.
“Tools are an important part of our philosophy,” says Stewart. “That includes technology, high-quality specialized instruction, as well as the physical environments in which students are learning.” The Paul VI communications program is one example. The large TV studio includes three sets and a control room with a window view of the studio. Students get hands-on in-class experience producing, directing writing and anchoring the morning news broadcast which is seen each morning in the homerooms.
Likewise, for performing arts, the school features a dance studio, as well as dedicated choir and band rooms; the school proudly offers a professional-grade auditorium. “This is reflective of our mission,” she says. “We have a broad view of what prepares students for college.”
According to Stewart, Paul VI was an early adopter of iPad technology and the first in the area to offer one to every student. The iPads serve as a textbook reader, notebook and research tool, and connect students to teachers.
To prepare each student for success, Paul VI conducts a unique guidance program where students interact directly with their guidance counselors in a classroom setting. “The guidance model at Paul VI allows counselors a direct view of the student’s learning style, strengths and weaknesses,” says Stewart. “This interaction helps counselors make accurate and specific recommendations for students post-graduation.”
Student development continues outside the classroom, too. The school features a special characterbuilding partnership with the University of Notre Dame, called Play Like a Champion Today. This program, combined with the school’s dedication to providing the right resources for athletics, arts and clubs, ensures that co-curricular life is as rich as possible.
Community service is an important facet of life for Paul VI students. “With a full-time director of campus ministry, and a priest who serves fulltime as our director of Catholic identity, our students can focus on becoming part of the larger world,” says Stewart. “Freshmen are invited to serve, and each year after that, students increase their commitment to service. The sophomore class, for instance, bands together for a special day of service, while upperclassmen pursue projects that have meaning to them.”
As inspiring as the school’s three soaring towers appear on the outside, visitors soon find that the inside inspires as well. From the serene school chapel, to the remarkable Learning Media Center—which was renovated to include study corrals, group seating for projects and more accessible books—to the collegiate-style dining hall, everything is done to help students make a seamless transition to college life.
“I don’t think there’s a school I’ve encountered that does such a good job providing so much support for student talent, interest and ability, or one that helps students accomplish so much,” Stewart says. “Every time I turn around, there’s something new. Last spring a beautiful new prayer garden was created for the students, with a statue of the Blessed Mother. This summer, the classroom plasma monitors are being replaced with smart TVs. Our leadership is constantly working to provide more for our students, academically and spiritually.”
For information on admissions, programs or tours of the campus, visit PVIHS.org.
Paul VI High School
901 Hopkins Road, Suite B
Haddonfield | (856) 858-4900
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 6 (August, 2016).
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