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      Point of Pride

      BLOCS Scholarship Donations Help WPCS Alums Pursue Private School Education

      Donation benefits WPCS students

      Students at the Widener Partnership Charter School celebrate a donation to the BLOCS program, which provides scholarships toward private high school tuition. From left, Jim Downey, Anera Goldsmith-Irby, Zaheerah Sabree, Lay'la Harmon, Saneya Davis, Dante Wagner, Morgan McFarland, Rachael Peterkin, Michael Gretz and Nancy Shaw.

      Students at the Widener Partnership Charter School will benefit from a generous scholarship gift made by an area business that will help pay for private high school tuition.

      The $10,000 donation from Gretz Beer Co., presented recently at the school, is another important gift to the Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools program, or BLOCS.

      “We’ve always felt education is the most important thing we should be focused on,” company President Michael J. Gretz said. “We couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this program.”

      BLOCS is an independent charitable organization supported by individuals, companies, firms and foundations of all sizes in the five-county Philadelphia region. It seeks to give children access to high-quality, values-based education in Philadelphia-area Catholic schools through need-based scholarships.

      Jim Downey, development manager for BLOCS, said approximately $400,000 is needed to assist about 140 Widener Partnership Charter School alumni who are attending private high schools. The school promoted 40 students on Thursday, June 8. 

      “This gift from Gretz Beer will combine with more than $19 million we have brought in this year to help kids at Widener Partnership Charter School and all around the Philadelphia region get access to an outstanding high school education. We hope the high school experience can help pave the way for them to pursue higher education at a quality university like Widener,” Downey said.

      Nancy Shaw, director of administration, advancement, and outreach for the Widener Partnership Charter School, recognized the donation with a group of eighth grade students who are planning to attend Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield and Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor this fall.

      “Widener Partnership Charter School is committed to the long-term success of our students,” Shaw said. “BLOCS scholarships give them additional educational options. We're grateful to Mr. Gretz and the many other donors whose contributions to BLOCS assist students who want to pursue private high schools.”

      If you have a business located in Pennsylvania and would like to learn more about this program, contact Jim Downey of BLOCS at 484.704.2304 or or Linda Durant, senior vice president for University Advancement at Widener University, 610.499.4123 or


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