A beam of hope in Hunts Point

Principle%2C+Mr.+Richard+Darrell%2C+and+Graduate+Support+Director%2C+Mr.+Adriel+Gutierrez%2C+provide+academic+and+social+support+to+St.+Ignatius+graduates+who+return+to+the+school+on+Fridays.%0ACourtesy+of+Mrs.+Trish+Killip

Principle, Mr. Richard Darrell, and Graduate Support Director, Mr. Adriel Gutierrez, provide academic and social support to St. Ignatius graduates who return to the school on Fridays. Courtesy of Mrs. Trish Killip

Principle, Mr. Richard Darrell, and Graduate Support Director, Mr. Adriel Gutierrez, provide academic and social support to St. Ignatius graduates who return to the school on Fridays. Courtesy of Mrs. Trish Killip
Principal, Mr. Richard Darrell, and Graduate Support Director, Mr. Adriel Gutierrez, provide academic and social support to St. Ignatius graduates who return to the school on Fridays.
Courtesy of Mrs. Trish Killip

Teachers at Saint Ignatius School in the Bronx not only teach, but also support, love and admire their students.
St. Ignatius is a Nativity-model middle school that serves as a safe haven for children who live in Hunts Point, an impoverished and high-crime neighborhood of New York City.

Schools that operate under the Nativity-model provide students from low-income families with an education to help break the cycle of poverty. They track the social and academic growth of students through an extended day, extended year program and a Graduate Support Program. St Ignatius currently serves 64 sixth through eighth grade students and supports over 140 graduates.
At St. Ignatius, the passion and excitement for helping students is evident. Due to the constant support and love from the faculty and staff at the school, St. Ignatius has become a place of hope and opportunity for students.

In April 2013, when financial struggles threatened the school’s closure, President Mrs. Eavan O’Driscoll and Dean of Curriculum Mrs. Trish Killip reached out to foundations, charities, and individuals to raise enough money to keep the school operating.

“Having worked with the students and families for three years and, therefore, knowing them very well made it very easy for us to fight on their behalf to keep the school open,” Mrs. O’Driscoll said.
Both women continue to play a key role not only in running the school, but also in interacting with the students outside of the school.
“We both love being here and strongly believe that the students at SIS deserve an education as good as our own children receive,” Mrs O’Driscoll said.
St. Ignatius also offers a Graduate Support Program that provides former students who are continuing their academic pursuits with tutoring, support for school or family related problems, and other means of encouragement. Graduate Support Director, Mr. Adriel Gutierrez, hosts a pizza dinner every Friday night for graduates to come back and discuss their high school experiences in a relaxed environment. Mr. Gutierrez also advises former St. Ignatius students, empowering them to overcome difficulties in high school.
“That’s my favorite part. When they know that they can do it and they come back and show me they can do it and they want to do something else that is even more challenging,” Mr. Gutierrez said.
High School Admissions Director, Mrs. Katie Connors, has been working at St. Ignatius for seven years. After attending Boston College Carroll School of Management, she planned on volunteering at the school for a short period of time, but decided to continue working at St. Ignatius after falling in love with its environment.

“It could not be more of a family atmosphere,” Mrs. Connors said. “I feel like we are making a difference so that makes it a joy to come to work.”
Principal Mr. Richard Darrell had similar plans to work at the school for a short period of time and then move on to become an administrator in the public school system. However, he is now in his seventh year at the Jesuit charter school.
“The reason why I’m here is because I really truly believe in the mission,” Mr. Darrell said. “I believe that we are changing the lives of students that wouldn’t normally be able to get these kinds of opportunities.”
St. Ignatius eighth grade students attend a Saturday math class to prepare for the New York State Regents Math Exam. Courtesy of Mrs. Trish Killip
St. Ignatius eighth grade students attend a Saturday math class to prepare for the New York State Regents Math Exam.
Courtesy of Mrs. Trish Killip

After participating in this framework of education and support, St. Ignatius students have left the school in Hunts Point to further succeed in both high school and college. In 2013, 100 percent of previous St. Ignatius students graduated high school. This is compared to just 40 percent of their peers in Hunts Point public schools, according to sis-nativity.org.
The faculty and administration in this school community help to provide a loving and supportive environment for their students and graduates, while instilling in them the Jesuit values upon which the school is founded.
“We really believe in the mission and in the kids,” Mrs. Connors said. “It’s so wonderful to work with coworkers that you know care as much as you do and have the same goals in mind.”
– Alice Millerchip, Co-Sports and Health Editor
Saint Ignatius School: http://sis-nativity.org/