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Chaput celebrates Ryan 50th anniversary

Archbishop Charles Chaput wished the school 50 more years of success.


Archbishop Charles Chaput celebrated Mass last Friday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Archbishop Ryan High School.

Others attending the Mass included local pastors, former teachers and former principals Helen Chaykowsky and Jim Meredith.

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During his homily, Chaput invited a student from each grade to join him on the altar to discuss their experience at Ryan.

“I’ve loved every second of it,” said Kaitlyn Dona, the senior class president.

Chaput wished Ryan “50 more years of extraordinary success.”

Principal Joseph McFadden said that there are more than 35,000 Raider and Ragdoll alums, including some prominent people in their profession. He singled out ESPN personality Chris McKendry and astronaut Chris Ferguson, who in 2011 commanded Atlantis, NASA’s final space shuttle mission.

McFadden lauded this year’s senior class, which consists of some current members of the military and seven students who have been accepted to Penn, including four offered full scholarships.

Amanda Lawson, one of those who will be attending Penn and the student council president at Ryan, presented Chaput with a gift bag.

Denise LePera said it is her honor and privilege to be Ryan’s president.

“Wow, what a school,” she said.

The crowd gave the Rev. Rene Barczak, an original faculty member, a standing ovation. He’ll be retiring to Florida.

Teachers Gerard Donahue and John Molnar, who have each spent 50 years in Catholic education, were also recognized.

The students shouted, “We are AR,” before Chaput gave his final blessing.

Chaput ended the Mass by giving the Ryan students an extra day off next school year. ••

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