Mike Sicilia is a 1989 graduate of Father Judge who is now an executive vice president at the software company giant Oracle.
Sicilia described his alma mater as always being state of the art. Last week, Sicilia was back at Judge marveling at the 20,000-square-foot Career Pathways Academy being constructed in the rear of the school.
“Talk about staying relevant,” Sicilia said.
Sicilia, who lives in Massachusetts, spoke as Judge officially kicked off the Campaign for 3301, what school president Brian King (class of 1997) describes as an “aggressive” three-year fundraising campaign hoping to raise $20 million. The campaign is so named because Judge is located at 3301 Solly Ave.
Judge is off to a good start, having already raised $10,681,987.50.
The Sept. 27 event, held in the gym, welcomed donors, alumni and students, along with state Sens. Tina Tartaglione and Jimmy Dillon and City Councilmen Mike Driscoll and Jim Harrity.
The emcee was Ellen Kolodziej, a Port Richmond native and Hallahan graduate who is a Fox 29 news reporter.
Her brother is the Rev. Jack Kolodziej, provincial of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Wilmington-Philadelphia and a former assistant principal at Judge.
“The Oblates are supportive of Father Judge, and we’ll always be supportive,” he said.
The crowd heard from senior Seamus Hart, student body president and class president in his freshman, sophomore and junior years. Hart, a St. Matthew graduate, is a lacrosse player who has played football and is in the National Honor Society, on the honor roll and the manager for the basketball team.
Sicilia said he is happy, not only with the building of a new trade school facility, but with Judge’s planned improvement to athletic facilities and overall modernization, including an esports program.
Sicilia said Judge is living up to its responsibility to successfully change outcomes for young men, including those who might be dealing with issues of hunger or mental health or living in a dangerous neighborhood without a good public school.
Sicilia said a successful fundraising campaign will help with tuition assistance. He said the math doesn’t work when you consider a $10,000 net tuition for a household with a $50,000 gross salary.
Some 2022 and ‘23 graduates of the welding program are already the top breadwinners in their house, according to Sicilia said.
“The leadership here at the school has done a terrific job,” he said.
Sicilia introduced a video that included King, the school president, explaining that the money will be divided among the Career Pathways Academy, science labs, athletics and the Joseph G. Campellone OSFS Endowment, named in honor of an Oblate who served as Judge president from 2000 to 2015 and remains a member of the development team.
King thanked elected officials, board members, Campellone and development director Charlie Huckel for getting the campaign off to such a fast start. He’s also excited about the external support, as the new automotive program is backed by Faulkner and the welding program has the support of the Connelly Foundation.
King, quoting UCLA basketball coaching great John Wooden, said, “It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” ••
For more information, go to thecampaignfor3301.com.