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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 Tribute to Sr. Pat McGrenra, IHM on Her Retirement from Gesu School

The Gesu community celebrated “Sr. Pat Day” on June 1, 2016 to commemorate her retirement and honor her service to Gesu School since 1994 as a Teacher, Counselor, and Assistant Principal. Students visited Sr. Pat’s office throughout the day to share songs, poems, and handmade cards. Faculty and staff came together for a celebratory dinner and tribute.

Sr. Pat came to Gesu School in 1994 as a Grade 7 Teacher. She hails from Philadelphia’s Most Blessed Sacrament Parish and West Catholic Girls High School. Prior to arriving at Gesu, Sr. Pat taught in Archdiocesan schools for 34 years.

With an M.A. in Counseling from Immaculata University and as a Certified Grief Counselor, Sr. Pat’s role evolved from teaching to full-time Counselor. In the late 1990s, she was appointed Assistant Principal and continued building the counseling program and mentoring teachers. Reflects Gesu School Counselor, Margaret Mary O’Neill, “In the 20 years that I’ve known Sr. Pat, I’ve benefitted from her wisdom, mentoring, kindness, professionalism, sense of humor, and most of all, her friendship. I’m not the only one—Sr. Pat has been so present and has meant so much to students, teachers, interns, parents, her IHM community, the community at large, and to all of us.”

On what has motivated her during her time at Gesu, Sr. Pat notes, “The things that inspire me in my work here are the faculty and staff and their enthusiasm in making Gesu Work! And that we make our mantra come alive: ‘It takes a Village.’ The thing that I love the most is that so many of the children I taught here are back with their children. That is a great blessing.”

Sr. Pat has made an impact on generations of Gesu students. Grade 4 Teacher and Gesu alumna, Leya Hinton, recalls her own experience in Girls Club in grades 4 and 5: “Sr. Pat always encouraged us girls to be ourselves, to be confident, and to have a voice. I still carry those things with me today, and I find myself encouraging the young girls I teach the same way Sr. Pat encouraged me many years ago.”

Always willing to address growing needs at Gesu, Sr. Pat volunteered as Moderator of Homework Club, four days a week, to tutor students in grades 4-8. She also served as Regional Director for Rainbows for God’s Children, an organization for children dealing with grief in Philadelphia and Camden.

Sr. Pat’s positive energy has greeted students and staff daily in the front office. We will miss her warmth and good humor. We know that she will continue to touch many Sisters’ lives as she begins her service work at Camilla Hall retirement community.

We thank Sr. Pat for her guidance over so many years, the difference she has made in hundreds of students’ lives, and the smiles she has brought to Gesu each day.