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Over 90% of our graduates complete high school within four years, in a city with an on-time high school graduation rate that hovers around 65%.

A new place to find a friend, in memory of Ms. Doloris John

Feeling a little lonely as her classmates raced about the rooftop playground, one little 2nd grader sat herself down on a bench on the sidelines.

Then something very special happened. Three other girls joined her.

You see, this bench isn’t just any bench. It’s Gesu’s new “Buddy Bench.” And just moments earlier, it was dedicated to the memory of Gesu’s beloved receptionist Doloris John, who passed away last fall after more than 30 years as Gesu School’s number one hug-giver.

“It was like Ms. John was sending us a message,” says 2nd grade teacher Mary Ryder, who watched the whole scenario play out among her students.

The Buddy Bench is a designated place where any child who feels lonely or left out can go to find a friend. A second grader in York, PA, first came up with the concept.

Ryder saw a story about the York buddy bench on TV the very day of Ms. John’s funeral. She knew it was just what Ms. John would have wanted.

So to honor Ms. John’s memory, Gesu School’s faculty and staff collected funds to install a Buddy Bench on the rooftop playground. While nothing can replace Ms. John’s hugs, students have a new place to go to find a friend.

Dedication plaque on new Buddy Bench

Fr. Neil and Ms. Ryder lead a prayer service dedicating Gesu School's new Buddy Bench in memory of Ms. Doloris John.