The video prepared by St. Agnes Hospital for the development of the property once known as the Cardinal Gibbons School was impressive ("Some neighbors unhappy as plans coalesce for Cardinal Gibbons," July 1). It is apparent many people are committed to making several of the former school buildings and the property a model for the community, the state and the nation on how to revitalize a neighborhood. However, this was not the model provided the faculty, staff and students when the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced the closure of the school in 2010. The reasons for closing the school were not the vision demonstrated in this video. Many of those present surmised the closure was due to the stark financial crisis the archdiocese faced (along with many for-profit and non-profit businesses) in 2009 and 2010.
My father graduated from Gibbons in the fourth graduating class. His experience as a student and later as a teacher resulted in my brother and me attending Gibbons. As a member of the class of 2005, I made many life-long friendships. The classroom size was normally less than 20 students. Some students came from wealthy families, some came from poor families and a few had a child of their own. Gibbons taught us to love and not judge our brothers. We came to respect one another for who we were, not how society may define us. This is what Gibbons was about from the time it opened to the time it was closed.
For me, the years were sometimes difficult (with studying), yet ultimately joyful because I was prepared for college and many friends were made for life. The vast majority of students from Cardinal Gibbons attended college after high school (a few to community college and the rest to four-year schools including Ivy League schools). Our alumni became doctors, lawyers, NFL players, police officers, teachers, military academy graduates, officers in the military, parents, priests, deacons, certified public accountants and managers of many businesses (and this is not a complete list).
One thing the Gibbons video did not show — and I was told would also be part of this model for Caton and Wilkens Avenues — is a "tribute to the teachers and students who graduated from and were attending Cardinal Gibbons." There is a stone structure which was called the "grotto" when I was there. The statue in this grotto of our Blessed Mother was dedicated to three students who died in an early morning plane crash in the late 1960s. They were members of the aeronautics club. The Marianist brother with them also died in the crash. When Gibbons closed, the statue was returned to the parents of one of the students who died. However, it was suggested to the teachers at Gibbons that this grotto would be used to give tribute and honor to those who worked at and attended the school. This tribute will one day be a memorial when the all the names listed are deceased.
My hope and my prayer is for the tribute to be made. Under the title, "Teachers and Students of the Cardinal Gibbons School 1964 to 2010," it should read, "The sons of Cardinal Gibbons." At the end of the long list, the "Fight Song" by Chuck Ciany and Jack Andryszak of the Class of 1969 should be included.
Daniel P. Ames
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