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Faith, Family and the Future
Camden Catholic High School welcomes diverse learners with an innovative curriculum and the opportunity to grow as individuals.

by Kristen Dowd

Camden Catholic High School is a special place. 

Just ask Kayleigh Bianchini, a 2015 alum who recently returned to her alma mater as the new director of enrollment management.

“Students here have a kindness, a love for one another and such a desire to grow their faith,” Bianchini says. “In today’s world where the future can be scary, I feel hopeful and confident because our students are going to go out into the world and be world changers.”

Established in 1887, Camden Catholic is located off Cuthbert Boulevard in Cherry Hill, welcoming a student body from across South Jersey and nearby Pennsylvania. The comprehensive four-year Roman Catholic high school has sent more students on to college than any other high school in the Diocese of Camden.

“At Camden Catholic, we deliver tomorrow’s innovative leaders steeped in the Catholic tradition of mercy,” Bianchini says.

This mission of mercy dates back to the high school’s founders, the Sisters of Mercy, whose charisms were to “live strong in the community,” Bianchini says. To graduate, students must complete 80 hours of service, although the majority end up going above and beyond this number.

“It eventually grows from their hearts,” Bianchini says. “Our students do all sorts of different things to build the kingdom of God.”

Beyond service, this includes starting every day and class with prayer. The school offers religious retreats and mass in the school chapel. And Camden Catholic welcomes students who are not Catholic, too.

“We can all learn from one another, we welcome students from all faiths,” Bianchini says. “At Camden Catholic, students are just immersed in this world of faith.”

Developing this relationship with Christ helps guide students at Camden Catholic, and is also part of the reason Bianchini feels students graduate from the high school transformed from when they first started.

“We pride ourselves on meeting learners where they’re at and pushing them to where they never thought possible,” Bianchini says. “We’re preparing learners for college and 21st-century careers that don’t even exist yet.”

This innovative curriculum includes an Introduction to Design Thinking course for freshmen, as well as classes in cybersecurity, data analytics, genetics and biotechnologies, and 20th-century global studies.

“The most important thing is educating diverse learners,” Bianchini says, explaining this diversity spans cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, learning styles, learning abilities and even a passion for learning.

“Our students are merit scholars. They go on to be AP scholars. We have college prep classes as well. We push and prepare our students for life beyond Camden Catholic,” Bianchini says.

Regardless of ability, however, students are supported at Camden Catholic. Learning needs are met for all students, including those who may need extra support. The McAuley program is designed for students with learning disabilities.

As a mid-sized school, Bianchini sees Camden Catholic as the “perfect size.” It’s not so small that it lacks diversity, but it’s not so large that a student will feel lost.

“At Camden Catholic, you’re not a number; you’re a family member. There’s always someone looking out for you,” Bianchini says. “Your teachers are aware of what’s going on. They support you. They’re at your activities and your games. … They believe in you.”

The school offers a robust arts program—and is in fact one of the few schools in the country that has performed 100 musical productions—and has some of the top athletic teams, too. In addition, there is the Catholic Athletes for Christ program, which weaves faith into the athletic journey with support of parents and coaches.

“We have a vibrant community where students find their passion,” Bianchini emphasizes.

These offerings are always growing and improving, much like Camden Catholic itself. Recent additions to the building include the Susan Black Fitzpatrick Piano Lab, a guitar studio, brand-new sound and lighting renovations in the auditorium, and an Innovation Lab, which is used by the school’s robotics team and is equipped with a 3D printer.

“We really pride ourselves on our school featuring classrooms of the future,” says Bianchini, adding that classrooms are regularly updated to promote innovation with things like collaborative furniture designs.

The learning style at Camden Catholic is just as progressive, according to Bianchini.

“Teachers at Camden Catholic are facilitators of knowledge. Our students actively take part in the learning,” she says.

For Bianchini personally, she says Camden Catholic High School has always felt like home. Her experience at the school shaped her into the person she is today, and she returned to work at Camden Catholic because she knows how impactful it is for students.

“I believe so much that our students need a place like Camden Catholic. They need a place where they’re learning values, learning about God and faith, preparing for jobs that don’t even exist yet and where they appreciate different people. Camden Catholic gave me all of that,” Bianchini says. “I believe in today’s world, we need more Camden Catholic graduates. They’re called to live differently.”

Camden Catholic High School
Cherry Hill | (856) 663-2247

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 4.
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