MONTCLAIR, NJ – 2015 graduates of Immaculate Conception High School in Montclair received more than $6 million in grants and scholarships, said Debra Branda-Canady, director of Guidance, during the Sunday afternoon graduation ceremony.
The $6 million was spread across the 35 graduates, 13 of which graduated with honors. This was up from $1.5 million in scholarships in 2014.
The 86th commencement ceremony, which was held in the Sanctuary of Immaculate Conception Church, was filled with prayers and words of encouragement for the graduates. Graduates and students of ICHS are considered family and often develop strong bonds that often last into adulthood. This was evident by the strong presence of alumni at the graduation and also among those currently working at the school.
One year after the archdiocese proposed closing the school doors forever on ICHS, many in the commuinity have revealed that they have proven themselves worthy of a second chance. Not only did the archdiocese reverse their initial decision indefinitely and enrollment is up, but the 2015 graduates of ICHS have all been accepted to college and earned millions in scholarships to do so. As part of the ceremony, the colleges that each student was accepted to was read off to the audience of family members.
In June of 2014, the Archdiocese of Newark had threatened to close ICHS doors forever if they did not raise enough money to remain open. When alumni and community leaders got wind of the decision, all stakeholders immediately went to work raising money, making calls, writing letters and the like. After raising over $500 thousand in the one month time frame given, the Archbishop decided to reverse the decision. In recent months, the Archbishop announced that ICHS will remain open indefinitely.
President of ICHS board of trustees, Celia Triggs Honohan said in a statement on the school's website, "Although Immaculate was founded almost 90 years ago, there is a vibrant spirit that continues through the bright and committed teachers and our lively, curious students. The Holy Spirit has watched over us during these past months of challenge and triumph. Your prayers and your financial sacrifices have made all the difference."
Beaming with pride, the 2015 graduating class of ICHS graduates, accepted their diplomas prior to receiving a blessing from Rev. Francis J. Burla.