Raising voices and glasses for Catholic education

Raising voices and glasses for Catholic education
Backed by the Hit the Bottle Boys, Bishop Dennis Sullivan sings Celtic standards at P.J. Whelihan’s restaurant in Cherry Hill on Feb. 20. The event was a fundraiser for Catholic Partnership Schools, which helps support five Catholic schools in Camden City and Pennsauken. Photo by James A. McBride

Backed by the Hit the Bottle Boys, Bishop Dennis Sullivan sings Celtic standards at P.J. Whelihan’s restaurant in Cherry Hill on Feb. 20. The event was a fundraiser for Catholic Partnership Schools, which helps support five Catholic schools in Camden City and Pennsauken.
Photo by James A. McBride

CHERRY HILL— The letters “CPS” stood out on the front of her shirt, as she clutched yellow 50/50 raffle tickets and walked amid guests on the sunny, cool porch of P.J. Whelihan’s restaurant on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 20.

She was raising money for youth like her with big dreams, who attend the five Catholic schools in Camden County sustained by the Catholic Partnership Schools.

“The partnership gives kids a better chance,” said Chinonso Chukwueke, a student at Saint Joseph Pro-Cathedral in Camden, and junior varsity basketball player who envisions herself one day being on the same court as her WNBA idols.

As Chukwueke continued selling, the occupants of the table she left

remained there to support her and her fellow students: Maria Vittese, with daughter Natalie, and her boyfriend Ray.

“This is a great event,” Maria said, adding that “the best thing we can do is give these kids something to be proud of.”

The 2-6 p.m. Beef and Beer fundraiser here brought in more than $45,000, drawing over 450 supporters of all ages, to aid the Camden City schools of Saint Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral, Sacred Heart, Holy Name, and Saint Anthony of Padua; and Saint Cecilia School in Pennsauken.

The energetic day was a “wonderful way to bring people together for a good time, people who believe in a faith-based, well-rounded education,” remarked Sister Karen Dietrich, SSJ, executive director of Catholic Partnership Schools.

CPS provides Kindergarten through eighth grade children at these institutions the opportunity to receive an education grounded in Catholic faith and values, and, consistent with its desire to educate the whole child, includes enrichment programs such as athletics, robotics and aeronautics.

If not on the restaurant porch, supporters could be found mingling with the crowd in front of the bar; dancing to the sounds of the Hit the Bottle Boys onstage; stuffing tickets into bags, hoping to win that makeup, Las Vegas visit, or movie-and-popcorn raffle basket; or helping themselves to the buffet spread of nachos, chicken wings, or pork sliders.

Among the gathered was Bishop Dennis Sullivan, who joined the stage band for a few Celtic standards, “Wild Mountain Thyme” and “Danny Boy.” Backed by guitars, drums and an accordion, Bishop Sullivan proved that, like his mission and that of the Catholic Partnership Schools, he and the Hit the Bottle Boys were on-key.

Categories: Catholic School News

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