Holy Ghost Preparatory School

Holy Ghost Preparatory School (often shortened to Ghost, HGP, or Holy Ghost Prep) is a private Catholic college preparatory school for young men in Cornwells Heights, Bensalem, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1897 by the Spiritan missionaries.

Holy Ghost Preparatory School
2429 Bristol Pike

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Coordinates40°4′46″N 74°56′45″W
TypePrivate, Day, College-prep
MottoCor unum et anima una.
(One heart and one mind.)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
PresidentGregory Geruson
PrincipalKevin Burke
Faculty53 (2018-19)
Enrollment468 (2018-19)
Average class size18
Student to teacher ratio9:1
Campus size50 acres (200,000 m2)
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Red, Royal Blue, and White             
Athletics conferenceBicentennial Athletic League
Team nameFirebirds
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
PublicationEmbers (literary magazine)
NewspaperThe Flame
Tuition$23,500 (19-20)
Dean of StudiesPatrick Hoelzle
Dean of StudentsTony Chapman
Director of AdvancementMatt Dwyer
Admissions DirectorRyan Abramson
Athletic DirectorJames Stewart
Campus MinisterMark Whartenby


Holy Ghost Prep was founded by Father John Tuohill Murphy, C.S.Sp. in 1897 as Holy Ghost Apostolic College, a preparatory school and junior-college seminary for young men studying to become members of the religious order of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers. In the 1950s, the school started to move its college-level program to Duquesne University and opened its doors to non-seminarians in 1959 for the first time. In 1967, the seminary program was discontinued, and a year later Holy Ghost Preparatory School was formed as a non-profit institution. In the 1990s, the school began a long-range planning process, which resulted in significant structural enhancements to the campus, and today its enrollment consists entirely of non-resident college-bound students.

Since the arrival of Gregory J. Geruson, a 1979 alum, as the school's first lay president in 2015, the school has experienced some obvious forward momentum. Enrollment numbers are heading steadily upward, and the school's "Vision 2020" Strategic Plan has resulted in the building of a new STEM Tower. Step One of the STEM Tower, the Brennan Innovation Center, opened in August 2017. The rest of the STEM Tower was completed in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year. In early 2018, the school also opened the Holt Center, a campus jewel that will include a performing arts center, a multi-purpose gymnasium, music instruction rooms, and special training areas for baseball, track and field, golf, lacrosse, and rowing. The Holt Center serves Holy Ghost students but also will be available to community groups.

Removal of Gay Teacher

In December 2013, long time foreign language teacher, and Holy Ghost alumnus, Michael Griffin '96, was fired from the teaching staff for applying to marry his long time, same-sex partner. Michael Griffin says he emailed the principal of Holy Ghost Prep earlier in the week saying he may be late Friday, that he was applying for a marriage license. After an in-service day he says he was called into the office of School President Father James McCloskey, along with Principal Jeffrey Danilak. Griffin explains, "He said, 'It's not really a secret here that you're gay.' I said, 'Correct.' He said, 'I assume this is a same sex marriage.' 'Yes.' He said if I go through with it, he had no choice but to terminate my position."

Student body

Holy Ghost consists of nearly 500 students. Located near the I-95 corridor in metropolitan Philadelphia, the school attracts students from more than 100 feeder schools from Bucks County, other metropolitan Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey.

Recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, Holy Ghost Prep is fully accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[2]

Graduation requires coursework in English, mathematics, social studies, science, foreign language, fine arts, and theology with many electives, including computer science, cinematography, and portfolio art. As a school for the college-bound, HGP offers an extensive honors and Advanced Placement program, preparing students to take AP tests for college credit in 23 areas of study prescribed by the College Board. A large number of students are designated as AP and National Merit Scholars, earn merit-based college scholarships, and perform well on the SAT. AP Calculus AB teacher Jerry Colapinto was awarded the 2007 Siemens AP Teacher of the Year award for Pennsylvania.[3]


HGP has many interscholastic and intramural sports teams. Major sports include basketball, baseball, ultimate frisbee, bowling, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, cross country, rowing[4] golf, and track and field. Athletic facilities on campus include seven fields for various sports, a fieldhouse holding an auditorium and gymnasium, an all-weather track, as well as a new facility, named "The Holt Center", containing a performing arts theater, music studios, gym, batting cages, as well as a room for the rowing team. Holy Ghost Prep is a member of the Bicentennial Athletic League.[5] The Firebirds have a tradition of excellence in all sports. There have been seven Pennsylvania state champions in school history: the 1972 and 1974 basketball teams,[6] the 1992 soccer team,[7] and, most recently, the 2011 tennis team. In 2013 and 2014, the soccer team won the PIAA state championship. In 2015, the hockey team won its first state championship. J.R. McIlwain ('93) won the 400m in 1992 PIAA state track championships and followed that with the 800m title in 1993. Holy Ghost Preparatory School also added a rowing team in the Fall of 2015.

In November 2019, it was announced that Holy Ghost Prep would leave the Bicentennial Athletic League after the 2019-2020 academic year, and compete as an independent program while maintaining it’s membership with the PIAA and District One.

Notable alumni

See also

Notes and references

  1. MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  2. "Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools", accessed November 6, 2010.
  3. “2007 Siemens Awards for AP Winners” Archived 2010-06-28 at the Wayback Machine,”Siemens Foundation", accessed November 6, 2010.
  4. "CROSS COUNTRY: Holy Smokes – Holy Ghost takes 15th straight Bicentennial Athletic League title", Bucks Local News, accessed November 6, 2010.
  5. "League Athletics", "League Athletics", accessed November 6, 2010.
  6. "PIAA High School Basketball Championship Teams", accessed November 6, 2010.
  7. "P.I.A.A. Boys State Championships", Pennsylvania State Soccer Coaches Association, accessed November 6, 2010.
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