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Friday, October 11, 2019 - 4:47pm

The groundbreaking Middle College Partnership is the first-of-its kind for a high school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Today, Ms. Denise Kassekert, President of John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School in Center City, and Dr. Donald Guy Generals, President of Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), announced an innovative Middle College Partnership between their respective institutions.

It is a collaborative educational initiative that will provide young women attending Hallahan with the opportunity to pursue a dual course of study leading to an Associate’s Degree upon high school graduation. This partnership is the first-of-its-kind for an Archdiocesan high school and signifies an innovative educational opportunity.  Student eligibility for participation will be based on pre-determined guidelines and requirements set forth by Hallahan and CCP. The program’s name, “100 Steps,” signifies the proximity of the two institutions to one another in Center City.

The announcement and ceremonial signing took place in the Hallahan auditorium in front of students, faculty, and staff as well as alumnae, and benefactors. It featured participation by senior leadership from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education, Faith in the Future Foundation, Community College of Philadelphia, and John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School.

The program will commence with two student cohorts for the 2019-2020 academic year, one in Allied Health and the second in Business.  In addition, a small group of students will be selected from the current freshman class to serve as an inaugural cohort in the Business track.  These students are required to attend a five-week First Year Experience course at CCP this summer. Following the summer course, the initial cohort will begin the three-year program leading to the Associate’s Degree with a split schedule between both campuses.   Students from the Class of 2023 who enroll in either program will attend the intensive course during the summer following their freshman year.  

Ms. Denise Kassekert, President, John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School said, “This collaborative educational initiative will provide the young women of Hallahan with the incredible opportunity to pursue a dual degree program in Allied Health or Business ultimately leading to an Associate’s Degree upon high school graduation.” She went on to say, “Today is significant as we continue in the spirit of our founder and provide unparalleled educational opportunities for our ‘girls’ making college accessible and affordable for our families.”

Sister Maureen Lawrence McDermott, I.H.M., Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer and Superintendent of Secondary Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education and Doctor Judith Gay, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff for Community College of Philadelphia participated in the announcement which was streamed via Facebook LIVE on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools Facebook page

“This is an important partnership for us and this city," said Dr. Donald Guy Generals, president of Community College of Philadelphia. He continued, “Our dual enrollment models provide an accelerated career track for youth allowing them to explore the paths leading to a College degree and to enter the workforce more quickly. The regional workforce benefits as the City increases the percentage of college-educated workers."

Following the ceremonial signing of the partnership, Kimberly Marti, a member of John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School’s Class of 2022, expressed excitement for the opportunity to participate in the program said, “Learning about the Middle College Partnership with The Community College of Philadelphia makes me realize even more what a great decision I made in coming to Hallahan. To have the opportunity to be considered for such a program is beyond my dreams. To be able to accelerate my academic career and make going to college more affordable is an amazing opportunity for me and my family and shows how Hallahan is always looking to improve education for the young women of Philadelphia—just like we did more than 115 years ago.”

Ms. Irene Horstmann Hannan, Chief Executive Officer, Faith in the Future Foundation said, “Access and affordability are the hallmarks of Faith in the Future and its work.” Ms. Hannan continued, “Today is a proud one not only for Hallahan, but also for all of us. [It] is a poignant example of one of Faith in the Future’s guiding principles—individually excellent but better together.”

Members of the John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School choir under the direction of Mr. Kevin Chun and Ms. Kate Tsakiris kicked-off the morning with a musical medley of songs including Ava Maria, Hail Holy Queen, and Immaculate Mary.   

For information about John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, please visit

Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 29,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online. For more information, please visit

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Editor’s Note:  To learn more about Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit For information about Faith in the Future, please visit

About Community College of Philadelphia
Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 28,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online. Visit the College at Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.

Linda Wallace
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