All Podcast EpisodesCatholic Education

5. Berks Catholic High School Part 1

Published: May 16, 2017

Today’s story is about the successful formation of Berks Catholic High School in Reading, Pennsylvania (Diocese of Allentown), a co-ed high school formed in 2011 through the merger of Reading Central Catholic and Holy Name high schools. Both of the former high schools had proud traditions and tremendous legacies. But the new school exceeded all expectations and defied the odds.  In this episode, Jim Friend interviews Tony Balistrere, Principal and his colleagues Nicole (Chiarelli) Smith, Admissions Director and Fr. Gene Ritz, the school’s Chaplain, as we discuss why they now have an enrollment that exceeds the combined enrollment of the two previous schools combined.

Tony and Jim begin by discussing the early days of the transition team, the formation of the school, how the school has remained successful through enrollment and development and the work of the board of directors.  Tony’s insights on how to connect alumni from the two previous schools with the current mission of Berks Catholic has proven very successful in raising over $5 million for their capital campaign less than five years since the merger. 

Berks Catholic High School centers on four pillars: God, Family, Academics, and Fun. As a vibrant Christ-centered community, the dedicated Administration, Faculty, and Staff provide a challenging academic environment for a diverse population of young men and women. Through Christian principles rooted in the Catholic tradition, they strive to positively impact students spiritually, intellectually, socially, physically, and emotionally, so they can live productive lives of service in this world and attain eternal life.

Next episode, we interview Mr. John Foster, Berks Catholic class of 2012.  John served as a member of the Berks Catholic Transition Team during the merger, and he has some great insights as he and his former classmates get ready to celebrate their 5-year reunion. 

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