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One Step Ahead
Camden Catholic High School

by Josephine Cusumano

Photography by Alison Dunlap

Today, education is about being one step ahead. One step ahead with test prep, college admissions and extracurricular programs—all of which starts with the right high school. However, deciding on which secondary school—albeit private or public—is best for your student requires research and discussion between both parent and child.

Camden Catholic High School (CHHS) takes that into consideration, and thanks to their numerous open houses throughout the school year, the long-standing co-educational private school has made it possible for families to become acquainted with its community before becoming part of the Irish family.

“When a student and a parent come to our open house, they are going to get a taste of what it is to be a part of the Camden Catholic community,” explains Principal Heather Crisci. “They will have an opportunity to see students and teachers interacting, they will be able to talk to students, faculty, coaches and staff about the CCHS environment, about our academic program and all of our extracurricular and co-curricular activities.”

The school is based on the values of honor, faith and loyalty. As a result, it features a bevy of programs to help students grow in a Catholic setting. CCHS students take advantage of college prep programs that prepare them with both an academic foundation for that next level, as well as important life skills. One example is the Camden Catholic Leadership Academy, which is currently in its fourth year.

“The Leadership Academy is a program unique among local high schools. All of our students who graduate with this training from Camden Catholic incorporate [the skills they learn] in many situations and activities,” says Crisci. “Our students learn to build relationships with their peers, their teachers and coaches, and many others. This ability to interact with a diverse set of people in many varying situations truly helps them be successful once they leave Camden Catholic.”

Families who attend one of Camden Catholic's many open houses—particularly their big fall event on Oct. 26—will learn about the school’s many programs. “The faculty will be present in our new Information Commons to answer questions about the curriculum, student expectations and student life. Athletic coaches and activity moderators also welcome prospective students to learn more specifically about the teams and clubs offered here,” explains President Mary Whipkey. “It’s truly the best time for prospective students to visit. You can take a student-led tour, ask questions and we know you’ll be impressed by the young people who call CCHS home.”

While the benefits behind Camden Catholic speak volumes— 100 percent college acceptance rate (class of 2017), a 12:1 studentteacher ratio, academic ability levels spanning advanced placement, honors, college prep and the McAuley Program, which aids students with mild learning disabilities— parents who have attended these open houses are taken by the sense of community they witness. “[Parents] enjoy the evening because they get a sense of the environment they would be sending their child into,” explains Whipkey. “They feel the respect the students have for the faculty and the passion that all of the students have for the school.”

From an admissions point of view, Whipkey stresses the school is a very faith-filled Catholic school, in which they’re “giving students direction in how to use their faith and build a relationship with God,” she explains. “We like to make sure students and families understand that building relationships is of principal importance to us, if that’s what they want in a school.”

Crisci encourages both parents and students on open house night “to have a specific list of questions they would like to ask—about academic or extracurricular programs—[ and] to have conversations with teachers and students. I also encourage them to watch that interaction between the faculty and the students because that is very genuine and very representative of this community.

“Families will see what the students get out of being here and ultimately they’re choosing a spot where their children are going to be most comfortable and fit in,” adds Crisci. “You want to know that your student is going to be an important piece of the high school community.”

Camden Catholic High School
300 Cuthbert Road | Cherry Hill | CamdenCatholic.org

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (October, 2017).

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