This blogsite is for alumni and friends of Archbishop Walsh High School (AWHS) in Olean, NY. Here you can share views on the school's future, along with memories of the past. It's also a great place for old friends and "old" friends -- separated by time, distance and circumstance -- to catch up. Welcome to the conversation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dresser officials say

private education

a key to recruiting

By Chris Chapman
Olean Times Herald

Friday, December 11, 2009

OLEAN - A revitalized academic program at Archbishop Walsh Academy can only benefit the whole of the Greater Olean area, the president and CEO of Dresser-Rand said to a group of community and business leaders Thursday.

Vince Volpe gave Olean-area leaders an overview of the process that has brought what used to be Archbishop Walsh High School through to Archbishop Walsh Academy during a luncheon at the Bartlett Country Club.

The process has seen the asset merger of the school with its elementary sibling, Southern Tier Catholic School.

A strong private, Catholic education, Mr. Volpe said, is an important force that can help revive Olean and the surrounding area to what it once was.

Olean used to have a strong private and public education system and thriving industry,” he said. “That helped keep the tax base reasonable because people were employed.”

One of the things that has led to the decline of the area, Mr. Volpe contended, is the loss of that strong private education in the area.

Over the past year, under the direction of Mr. Volpe and Beth Powers, a Walsh board member and project manager for the restructuring, there has been an effort to rebuild Archbishop Walsh into the school that it once was.

“A strong private education should have strong academics, discipline and a strong sense of values,” Mr. Volpe said. “But that is not to say that the public school system is part of the problem, either.”

Quite to the contrary, Mrs. Powers said the public school in the area is a great asset.

“I have talked with Colleen Taggerty (superintendent of the Olean City School District), and she has been very supportive,” Mrs. Powers said, noting that a vibrant private high school in the area would raise educational standards in the public schools as well.

She noted that Walsh is continuing the process of being certified as an International Baccalaureate school, which would add Walsh to a small percentage of such schools in the nation.

The need for a strong private education system plays into the rebirth of the Olean area, Mr. Volpe said.

“When employers bring potential employees into the area, one of the things they look at is the education system,” he said. “Several of the area businesses have lost out on quality employees because of the lack of that strong education system.”

“When employers bring potential employees into the area, one of the things they look at is the education system,” he said. “Several of the area businesses have lost out on quality employees because of the lack of that strong education system.”

Mr. Volpe said that the combination of education and infrastructure has a direct correlation to the headquarters of Dresser-Rand moving from Olean to its location in Houston.

“This is a beautiful area, once you get here,” he said. “Olean is not an easy place to get in and out of.”

Educationally, he said recruiting to the area suffered because of the lack of private education.

“We could not get them (potential employees) in here,” he said. “Eventually, the board said we needed to move to Houston.”

Once there, there was little problem with recruiting.

Mr. Volpe said that the total combined salaries of those that were recruited to the Houston headquarters is $10 million.

“That’s $10 million that could have been here,” he said.

With that, he and Mrs. Powers introduced the next step in the Walsh restructuring process.

“As I said to begin,” Mr. Volpe said, “there needs to be a transformation from the few to the many, and that is where all of you (community leaders) come in.”

He said the leaders could expect to get a call from Walsh, looking for support.

“It doesn’t have to be monetary support,” he said. “It could be names of potential students or teachers as well.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

School now an academy

New name among changes

at Archbishop Walsh

By Chris Chapman
Olean Times Herald

JULY 28, 2009

OLEAN - Change is inevitable. For some, change is a scary thing. For others, it’s progress.

The Archbishop Walsh Board is hoping what they have in mind falls into the latter category.

When the building on North 24th Street opens its doors for classes this fall, a few things will be different. Not only will the building be the home to students from pre-kindergarten through Grade 12, but other, more progressive, changes will have taken place.

As students walk through the main doors, they will notice the school has a new name. The 52-year-old school will still carry the name of Archbishop Walsh, but the words ‘High School’ will be gone.

“We have officially changed our name from Archbishop Walsh High School to Archbishop Walsh Academy,” Dresser-Rand Vice President of Public and Community Relations, Elizabeth Powers said. “The ‘Academy’ more accurately reflects the direction we are going with (our curriculum) and is not limited in grade, as ‘High School’ is.”

When the 2009-10 school year begins, elementary students will be walking the halls of the building. The students of Southern Tier Catholic School will be moving into the building.

“During the first year, the two schools (Archbishop Walsh and Southern Tier Catholic School) will coexist under the same roof,” Mrs. Powers said. “They will be two separate entities in the same building.

“This is simply a name change,” she continued. “The name is historic, and does carry a Catholic connotation. The new name will carry no limit in religion, geography, or span (of education).”

Despite being a Catholic-based school, students that attend do not have to come from that faith, Mrs. Powers said.

“In fact, nearly 20 percent of our students are not Catholic,” she said. “It is about the same in Southern Tier Catholic School as well. We try to be welcoming of all faiths.”

The change also reflects the attitude of the school in honoring the alumni, Mrs. Powers said.

“It is also a name that has tremendous affiliation and loyalty from the alumni, and is a name that is not limiting in geography,” she said.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Web site for 1967 class


John Armstrong just let us know about this newly established site for Class of 1967. FYI: Site includes ads.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Time for family reunion, WNY Tour

I'm departing Austin today for a solid week enjoying the company of friends and family in the summer green of New York State. First up is Independence Day in Plattsburgh and a few days with friends north of the Adirondacks.
Next week I will enjoy a nice, long drive down the Northway then to the Thruway and head for Western New York. Am looking forward to a Thursday lunch and meeting with JP Butler for a face-to-face update on AWHS, perhaps an opportunity to shoot some photos for the blogsite, and compare impressions of the school from someone who graduated 5 years ago and someone who graduated 41 years ago. Am also focused on the joys of a Beef on Wick repast, something that doesn't happen in Central Texas. This should be most interesting.

Then there's the family reunion ... I might even get to talk with Bob McFarland (AWHS board president) at the Steinbroner Nation Family Reunion on July 12. The following day, I'm headed back to Austin, no doubt my memory banks and cameras filled with images from a most enjoyable, but all too brief, vacation.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fr. Allaire to step down as principal

There will soon be a change made to the administration at Archbishop Walsh High School, Mr. Robert McFarland, president of the board of trustees, recently announced.

Fr. Barry J. Allaire, who has been serving as principal at Walsh since the spring of 2006, will be assigned to the newly-created position of director of religious affairs after the completion of the current school year. Fr. Allaire, a teacher and administrator at Walsh for the last 25 years, will focus on the religious direction of the school while emphasizing the Catholic Church’s mission to students and the greater community. He will continue to have a positive impact and presence at Walsh, McFarland said.

Fr. Allaire will continue to teach various levels of religion, the classical languages and related courses.
The board of trustees also announced that it is currently in the process of finding a successor to Father Allaire. The new principal will be hired to concentrate on the day-to-day administration of the school, Mr. McFarland said.

Potential candidates for the position are asked to send a resume and cover letter to Archbishop Walsh High School, 208 N. 24th Street in Olean, N.Y. The new principal’s appointment will be effective immediately.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dresser exec joins AWHS board

If you haven't seen this item, you may find it of interest. Just click on the headline above "Dresser exec joins AWHS board" OR scroll down through the following story from the Olean Times Herald

June 18, 2008

Dresser-Rand president

signs on to Archbishop Walsh

Board of Trustees

Olean Times Herald

OLEAN - In an attempt to keep the school open in the face of major budget cuts, Archbishop Walsh High School is bringing one of Olean’s most prominent businessmen to its Board of Trustees.

Vince R. Volpe Jr., the president and CEO of Dresser-Rand, agreed to join the board after meeting with several of its members Friday. His daughter attended the school. Mr. Volpe was in Europe and unavailable for comment by press time today.

After the Buffalo Diocese of the Catholic Church announced it was cutting back funding to its private schools, Archbishop Walsh faces the possibility of closing due to lack of funds. Mr. Volpe will spearhead the effort to keep the doors to the school open, Board of Trustees President Robert McFarland said.

“He’s very excited about the prospect of helping restructure Walsh,” Mr. McFarland said of Mr. Volpe. “He wants to be very involved with the future path of the school.”

The current goal of the school is to increase enrollment to over 150 students within three years while growing financially and enriching academic and student life, Mr. McFarland said, and Mr. Volpe will help them develop ways to go about reaching that goal.

“(Mr. Volpe) will work with the present Board of Trustees, volunteers and community leaders that have wanted to keep Walsh open and grow the school,” he said.

Besides having business experience, Mr. Volpe is also well connected in the Olean community, Mr. McFarland said.

“We’re working closely with the Diocese of Buffalo and with St. Bonaventure University,” Mr. McFarland said. “Mr. Volpe is a board member at St. Bonaventure as well, so we’ll be working with them even more closely.”

One of Mr. Volpe’s key tasks will be finding ways to keep money coming into the school to keep it open.

“We’ve had ongoing fundraising efforts that showed good success, but Mr. Volpe on board is an important aspect of that,” Mr. McFarland said. “When you get someone that is a name as a community leader, it surely helps in the fundraising effort.”

Father Barry Allaire, the school’s principal, said Mr. Volpe joining the Board of Trustees shows his commitment to alternative education and his belief in improving the Olean area.

“He’s committed to this community and committed to this school,” Father Allaire said.