This summer, Cardinal Gibbons welcomed home more than 20 alumni who returned to their alma mater to work with the 1,000 plus students from local schools participating in the academics, athletics, and performing arts camps.
Having alumni involved in summer camps as counselors really provides a special experience for campers, says fellow graduate Sarah Kuszaj ’97, who is also the summer program coordinator and a science educator at Gibbons. “Alumni,” she continues, “are able to share not only their knowledge with the campers, but also many of them were once Gibbons campers too, know how much fun they had at camp, and want to make sure this year’s campers have the same experience.”
“Alumni are able to share not only their knowledge with the campers, but also many of them were once Gibbons campers too, know how much fun they had at camp, and want to make sure this year’s campers have the same experience,” says fellow graduate Sarah Kuszaj ’97, who is also summer program coordinator and science educator at Gibbons.
That experience includes offering campers the opportunity to learn new skills from dedicated coaches, educators, student leaders, as well as alumni, embrace the Gibbons culture, become part of the school community, and join a tradition of success. Summer 2018 marked "our drama camps 10th anniversary, our always popular sports camps had their largest enrollment yet at nearly 700 campers, and we offered such new camps as coding, media, and college essay writing," notes Sarah.
For alumni, choosing to be camp counselors at Gibbons is a way to give back to their school, an opportunity to mentor younger students and, at the same time, a chance for them personally to grow. While alumni were involved in many of the camps, the largest group of graduates, nine in all, worked the summer drama program. Among them was Robert DiDomenico, III ’10, who has been involved in the program for four years, two of them directing plays.
“Theater is a very powerful art form with positive effects that travel far beyond the edge of the stage,” explains Robert. “I do these camps in the hope that theater will help someone else as much as it helped me.” As a Gibbons student, Robert was involved in the theater program and after he graduated he worked as an actor. This fall, he will attend law school at
UNC Chapel Hill.
This is the first year Allison Cochrane ’17 is a summer drama program counselor. “Gibbons Drama was such a huge part of my high school career and I am so happy to be back this summer being involved with my peers doing what I love,” she notes. “This gives me the opportunity to give back and watch the future of Gibbons Drama grow.” Allison is a rising sophomore at Columbia College in Chicago majoring in theater, with a focus on comedy and performance.
Associate Director of Alumni Advancement Susan Leigh ’87 says Gibbons is blessed with alumni who give back to their school in so many ways. “What a joy to have them sharing their time and talent with campers in our summer programs,” she adds.