A Solid Foundation, A Bright Future!
There are many graduates today who recall with deep love and affection their time at the Prep and the dedication of the Franciscan Brothers who taught and guided them. Throughout the past 155 years, the Brothers have carried on, in the words of Bishop Molloy, "quietly and serenely, uncomplaining and happy in the work of their calling.”
Under the leadership of these good Brothers, St. Francis Prep has continued to grow, with administrators, teachers and students constantly aspiring to and achieving high educational, academic and spiritual standards that meet the challenges of today and prepare for a better tomorrow. The incredible has become the expected and the "norm” is excellence. And we have now embarked on an exciting journey of renewal and modernization, making the most significant investments in the future of the Prep since the move from Brooklyn to Fresh Meadows nearly 40 years ago.
Aside from routine maintenance and repair work (and some creative thinking on how to best utilize the existing crowded facilities), the Prep’s physical plant had not changed or been improved upon in any significant way since its construction in the early 1960’s—nor had there been any major capital investment in the facilities until recently. (The building originally housed Bishop Reilly Diocesan High School until the Franciscan Brothers took over in 1974 and moved the Prep there from Brooklyn.)
In contrast, the educational landscape changed dramatically over that same period, and the Brothers always responded to the changes by utilizing whatever resources were available at the time. Hence, any work needed on the facilities was performed with minimal capital expenditure. With this as background, here are several success stories along with some of the challenges the school still faces:
- The Computer Science Program has grown exponentially since the personal computer revolution of the 1980s. The Prep offers numerous courses in programming languages and software applications which, combined, represent a far greater number than any high school in the area. To meet this demand, one of two student chapels was converted into a computer lab. (Imagine stained glass windows alongside Microsoft Windows!) More recently, student computers were added and upgraded in the library. Also, SMARTBoards© were installed in every classroom to help enhance an already high level of instruction. In the end, developing creative ways to meet the ongoing challenge of changing technology will continue to be a priority.
- The Art Program offerings have increased substantially as has its reputation as the best program of its kind of any high school in the area. There are now 29 course offerings – it is simply unmatched! Yet the instruction and studio space has been substantially below what is required to continue the program’s leadership and growth. This situation needed attention and has now been remedied with the recent addition of the new Art Education Center located in the former convent.
- Terrier student athletes continue to uphold the tradition of excellence that began in Brooklyn by bringing home titles in Tennis, Handball, Soccer, Football, Volleyball, Baseball, and Basketball over the years. Recently, Lacrosse, Hockey and Step Teams were added to the extracurricular activity lineup. Yet the school lacked adequate training and conditioning facilities. The weight training room was actually located in a small, converted garage! This situation needed to be addressed and has now been remedied with a new Physical Education and Athletic Training Center.
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