Gesu School is honored to announce Peter G. Gould and Rev. Stephen D. Thorne as our 2016 Gesu Spirit Medalists, Gesu’s highest honor. Dr. Gould and Rev. Thorne will be recognized at the 2016 Gesu Gala on May 5, 2016, for their extraordinary dedication to Gesu School.
Peter Gould has been a Gesu School supporter and a member of the Board of Directors since 1997. Early on, Peter worked actively to establish our development function. Through the Children Succeeding campaign, he and his wife, Robin Potter, initiated our program of endowed scholarships through a challenge grant. He later helped lead the school to financial stability as chair of the Finance and Audit Committee. Through their family foundation, Peter and Robin have endowed two scholarships and support four Sponsor a Child scholarships.
Currently, Peter leads a strategic planning task force—the Assessment and Measurement Committee. Its goal is to support curriculum improvements and development by measuring long-term academic performance and documenting Gesu’s ability to instill critical “soft skills”—such as grit, self-control, and resilience—which determine life outcomes. The committee also has encouraged Gesu to create a post-graduate counselor position to maintain close ties to Gesu students after they leave our school. Peter and Robin will be funding that position for the first five years.
Peter is a former investment banker and corporate turnaround specialist who has led over 30 companies and served several nonprofit organizations. After retiring from business, Peter earned a Ph.D. in archaeology and is a consulting scholar at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the University of Pennsylvania and an adjunct professor at the American University of Rome.
Fr. Stephen Thorne is the epitome of a mentor. To many Gesu students, he has been a cherished advisor on life choices, relationships, and preparing for the future. In 2006, Fr. Thorne formalized a mentoring program at Gesu School called Boys to Men to build on Gesu’s single-gender classroom instruction, which prevents students—especially boys—from losing interest in school.
For 45 minutes each week, Fr. Thorne, who was born and raised in North Philadelphia, teaches life skills to the 8th grade boys, including tying a tie, developing a resume, making good decisions, and addressing other issues of “becoming a man.” As part of the program, he recruits African American men to share their stories with the students and serves as a positive role model himself. Fr. Thorne has further supported Gesu’s 8th grade students by serving as an enthusiastic and encouraging graduation speaker and leading reflective retreats. He is committed to serving North Philadelphia.
As one of only four black Catholic priests active in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, Fr. Thorne is the Pastor of Saint Martin de Porres Catholic Church, where he has been since 2011. He works to widen the door for African American men to consider vocations to the priesthood, while making sure all know that the church is open to them. Fr. Thorne has served on the Gesu Board of Directors since 2010 and uses his prominence in the urban education community to champion the Gesu School model.
The Gesu Spirit Medal honors individuals who have shown extraordinary commitment to Gesu School through their loyal advocacy and actions, and who have made a significant contribution to Gesu School’s success as a model inner-city elementary school.
For event information and Sponsor / Patron opportunities, please visit www.gesuschool.org/2016gala.
Event Contact: Gesu School Development Office, Director of Annual Giving, 215-763-9077 or firstname.lastname@example.org