Catholic academy receives $2 million boost for programs

The president and CEO of Liberty Mutual Group Chairman, Edmund “Ted” Kelly, addresses students at Pople John Paul II Catholic Academy’s Columbia Road campus. The president and CEO of Liberty Mutual Group Chairman, Edmund “Ted” Kelly, addresses students at Pople John Paul II Catholic Academy’s Columbia Road campus.

A pair of Bay State companies offered the Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy a $2 million boost this week, with the funds targeted for improving the math and science curriculum.

EMC Corporation, an information technology company, and Liberty Mutual, an insurance company, each donated $1 million. The funding came after Jack Connors, a retired advertising executive, gave a tour of the Columbia Road campus to Ted Kelly, the chairman and CEO of Liberty Mutual, and Joseph Tucci, chairman and CEO of EMC Corporation, and introduced them to the students.

Addressing 18 students from the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, Connors said, “They fell in love with you…They gave this money because you will be even more special.”

Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy, which replaced an eight-school parish system, has 1,300 students, from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Some 99 percent of students graduate, and 97 percent receive a post secondary education, according to the archdiocese.
Aside from the Columbia Road campus, other locations include the Lower Mills campus, also known as St. Gregory’s School; the Neponset campus, also known as St. Ann’s School; and the Mattapan campus, formerly known as St. Angela’s School.

The central campus, located in the St. Mark’s,school building, will be shutt down next month. Ninety-six percent of students at St. Mark’s are heading to other campuses within the academy, according to officials.

John Fish, whose Suffolk Construction company has helped build the various campuses, attended the press conference where the donations were announced, calling them a “wonderful expression of generosity by two pillars of the community.”

School officials need to raise $70 million, mostly through private donations, to cover the cost of academy. The fundraising effort, called the Campaign for Catholic Schools, has raised about $47.5 million so far, including $15 million from the Yawkey Foundation, according to the archdiocese.

Unfinished business remains: The Neponset campus is due to receive four classrooms and a science lab, though a timeline was not immediately available, said Kathleen Driscoll, president of the Campaign for Catholic Schools, which is still raising funds for the additions.

The Mattapan and Lower Mills campuses are also expected to be renovated, Driscoll said.

A subcontractor for the Neponset campus, Performance Contracting, filed a lien against the property earlier this year, saying they were owed $161,060.

Fish told the Reporter liens on properties during construction are “not abnormal” and are employed as a way for the company to “protect their rights.” He and other officials involved with the campuses said the liens were being settled.