Ready for Tomorrow
From academics and athletics to international experience, Lansdale Catholic High School prepares students to excel in a hyper-competitive, increasingly diverse world
by Lindsey Getz

There are a lot of reasons that parents might choose to send their children to private school: rigorous college preparation; religious or moral instruction; individualized attention; tools to improve their standardized test scores, etc.

At Lansdale Catholic High School, students experience all these benefits and so much more.

Lansdale Catholic, a coeducational college preparatory school in eastern Montgomery County, has earned a reputation for preparing students to excel in college, as well as creating individuals who thrive after their education has ended and they enter the work force. The students who come to Lansdale Catholic tend to be those who truly want to succeed. They aim to achieve, not only in academics but also in life. In fact, the International Center for Leadership in Education honored Lansdale Catholic for being one of the nation’s 25 highest-performing and most innovative schools.

The school’s forward thinking is readily apparent in its robust STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program. There has been a marked increase in the pursuit of STEM degrees in fields such as computer science, bioengineering and medicine, according to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, as many Lansdale Catholic alumni can attest. This trend will likely continue, thanks in part to the school’s full-time STEM coordinator, Mary Antoni, who provides not only counseling but also academic assistance, college preparation services, career shadowing coordination and more.

“The high rate of interest in the STEM subjects necessitated having a full-time STEM coordinator here at Lansdale Catholic,” says Antoni. “With me being full time, students have full access to my help in investigating STEM careers or assisting them if they begin to struggle in a particular STEM course. Often when students ‘hit a wall’ and get frustrated is when they might drop their pursuit of a STEM degree. That’s the time when they need help the most, and I’m able to provide that.”

The school’s STEM program allows students to explore different fields of study as a way to foster their current interests and expose them to new ones. For example, a STEM lecture series enables them to network with various STEM professionals and explore real-world careers in a variety of areas.

“The STEM subjects you’re exposed to in school are just a narrow exposure to a broad field,” Antoni says. “From forensics to analytics or bioengineering—there are so many career choices in this field, and it’s our goal to expose students to the possibilities early on.”

The STEM initiative is just one way in which Lansdale Catholic helps form well-rounded students who are eager to “stretch” and expand their horizons. Athletics plays a key role in this growth as well, and with the hiring of Thomas Quintois—the school’s first-ever full-time athletic director—students have more opportunities to hone their athletic skills than ever before. Quintois’ hiring is somewhat unprecedented for a Catholic secondary school, but the school found it needed an athletic director on campus throughout the day to best serve the student population.

“Our athletes need a resource who is there to be an advocate for them,” says Quintois, whose responsibilities include overseeing playing fields, running summer camps and working with admissions. “They need someone who can hold athletes accountable and also be there to represent them. I think students and their parents appreciate that.”

As a product of the public-school system, Quintois has a unique appreciation for the Lansdale Catholic campus’ distinctive culture.

“Having come from such a large [public school] setting, this was a whole new world,” Quintois admits. “The culture is one of the biggest differences. There is such a strong sense of family here. It is a very tight-knit group of families—and they’re an active part of the school community. They are invested in the kids. Their kids are equally as committed. They come here because they really want to learn. They want the education and the experience. It’s rewarding to be part of that.”

In addition to academics and athletics, Lansdale Catholic students learn to embrace diversity. Stephanie Kemler, the school’s international student advisor, is a full-time advisor to the 47 Lansdale Catholic students who hail from countries such as China, South Korea and Vietnam. With a dedicated space in the Resource Center, Kemler is available to tutor these students and assist with their speaking and writing skills. She also coordinates regular events that “bridge the gap” between the school’s international and domestic students.

“There are many U.S. Lansdale Catholic students who are interested in helping out with international student programming, and that presents wonderful opportunities on both sides,” says Kemler, who has personal experience living abroad. “It helps the international students with their grades but also their level of comfort at the school. Knowing a friendly face goes a long way.”

The experience also helps the school’s U.S. students develop important life skills, according to Kemler. “Even just socializing with students from other countries is helping them to develop important people skills that colleges and ultimately jobs like to see—particularly experience working with people from China or Korea,” she explains. “That’s a huge selling point for colleges, as having more international students is becoming the norm. And, of course, it’s a huge selling point on a résumé when so many businesses are working internationally. We set our students up for what the future will look like—in higher education and, ultimately, in business.”

Although “setting students up for the future” certainly applies to Lansdale Catholic’s international focus, it also effectively sums up the overall experience the school aims to provide to each student. Here, students gain a firm understanding of what it takes to succeed in a fast-paced world that has become not only hyper-competitive but also increasingly diverse.

“Our focus is to prepare students for the next step,” Antoni says. “We aim to give them everything they need to get there—from problem solving to research strategies. Our goal is to prepare them to further their education and, ultimately, go on to a successful career in the workplace.”

Lansdale Catholic High School
700 Lansdale Ave.
Lansdale, PA 19446

Photograph by Allure West Studios