Benedict’s Begins to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Reopening


Rutgers University professor Clement Price Ph.D speaks in front of the school on stage with esteemed guests.

Rutgers University professor Clement Price Ph.D speaks in front of the school on stage with esteemed guests.
Rutgers University professor, Clement Price Ph.D, spoke in front of the school about St. Benedict’s presence in Newark. He shared the stage with Chairman of the Board, Bill Connolly; Vice Chairman,Robert DiQuollo; civil rights activist Robert Curvin Ph.D.; former Mayor Sharpe James and Robert Treat Academy Founder, Steve Adubato.


The late ’60s and early ’70s were difficult times in Newark; the city struggled with the effects of racism and with issues it has not yet totally overcome. However, some part of the city’s strength was safeguarded at 520 High St.  Although St. Benedict’s Prep closed its doors in 1972 for one year,  in July 1973, the monks of Newark Abbey reopened a school for the young men of Newark. And now St. Benedict’s is celebrating that reopening.

At convocation July 29, the first day of the Summer Term, a group of distinguished guests joined Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy O.S.B , faculty and students to officially kick off the year long remembrance of the school’s recommitment to Newark. Former mayor Sharpe James, Robert Academy founder Stephen Adubato, Board Chairman Bill Connolly H’91,  Board Vice-Chairman Bob DiQuollo ’65, Rutgers University professor Clement Price Ph.D, and civil rights activist Robert Curvin Ph.D, shared the stage to celebrate to the presence and work of St. Benedict’s Prep in the community over the last 40 years.

The Benedictine presence over the last 40 years in Newark has provided results. The 5000 living alumni include athletes like Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna, J.R. Smith, Cullen Jones, and, in more recent years, Edward Cheserek as well as many physicians, lawyers, law enforcement officials,  teachers and more.

School supporters have always been drawn to Benedict’s unique brand of education.

“The education [students]receive goes deeper than just the ABC’s,” says Mary Louise O’Connor, a long time benefactor of St. Benedict’s, “you learn life, and everything that you need to be a strong young man.”

After reflections from Mayor James, Dr. Curvin, Dr. Price, Mr. DiQuollo and Mr. Connolly, Fr. Edwin  talked about St. Benedict’s over past 40 years. “In tough times, God has been there through it all, making his presence known in history,” he said. “In tough times, God, through the rule of Benedict, told us that we had to stay here in Newark to continue our work.”

Dr. Curvin lived through these tough times, and has seen the influence of St. Benedict’s in the history of the city. As a civil rights activist during the time of the Newark riots, he stood atop a police car facing an angry crowd and tried  to dispel rumors.  He was met with rocks and bursts of flame as Molotov cocktails set fire to the streets. During these times, while Newark was falling, St. Benedict’s stood strong, he said.

“In a city,” Dr. Curvin said, “… there have to be certain fountains of regeneration and strength.” And he added that St. Benedict’s Prep and Newark Abbey should be counted among the strongest fountains for the past 40 years.