MAGINN STUDENTS Michael Verdichizzi and Colin Williams have been accepted into the honors program at Providence College in Rhode Island, which covers 80 percent of their tuition. “This is not only an honor for these two young men,” Principal Chris Signor said, “but also for Bishop Maginn." Nine thousand students apply each years for 110 awards.
MAGINN STUDENTS Michael Verdichizzi and Colin Williams have been accepted into the honors program at Providence College in Rhode Island, which covers 80 percent of their tuition. “This is not only an honor for these two young men,” Principal Chris Signor said, “but also for Bishop Maginn." Nine thousand students apply each years for 110 awards.
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Bishop Maginn High School in Albany is a school in transition.

Following Maginn's relocation from its campus on Slingerland Street to its new home on Park Avenue at the beginning of the school year, many concerns of parents and community members seem to be ebbing.

"We are here; we are viable," declared Maginn's head of school, Christopher Signor. "We are a functioning high school, providing a high-quality education."

Senior Colin Williams told The Evangelist that much of his own anxiety before the move was about sports.

But "we lucked out this year," he said, noting partnerships Maginn has made with the Albany College of Pharmacy and The College of Saint Rose, where many of the school's basketball games have been played.

At the beginning of the school year, Bishop Maginn took on 45 new students: refugees from Myanmar, who now make up almost a third of the entire student body. (Read a previous story at www.evangelist.org.) Colin noted that "there is a little bit of a language barrier," but said that everyone is managing.

The school is "a community, and you have to do what you have to do," he said.

Mr. Signor said Maginn has provided an English Language Learners (ELL) teacher to help the students with communication, and has teamed up with the Siena College Writing Partnership to help them with schoolwork.

All of Maginn's students seem happy with the physical improvements the new location offers, such as new lockers, an updated kitchen and new science labs. The size of the school is better suited to current needs, too, they say, with 145 students in a building that could potentially hold about 300, rather than the former 500-student campus.

Kaira Tragico, a senior, said she's less likely to be late to class in the smaller building: "You can get around a little bit quicker. The first few days were kind of stressful, [trying] to not get lost, but we all get along pretty well."

Kaira said the school is close to both the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany and to Empire State Plaza and the New York State Museum. She hopes future generations of Maginn students can take advantage of that. Mr. Signor has big plans for the future of Maginn.

"True learning really takes place without standing in front of a chalkboard," he told The Evangelist, so he wants to implement more internships and externships for students, getting them out into the community. He also plans for a Bishop Maginn Cathedral Choir to be trained to sing in liturgical settings while earning class credit.

That transition would rely on financial support. Mr. Signor said it's difficult for Maginn to stay afloat by relying solely on student tuition, so he's working to partner with area businesses.

"For us to remain financially viable and healthy, we are going after larger donations and corporations," he explained. The school has already received large donations from the Daughters of Charity religious order and the Stewart's (Shops) Foundation.

"The school does still have some struggles financially," noted diocesan associate superintendent of Catholic schools Giovanni Virgiglio. "The financial aspect of it is an ever-present challenge." But he believes Maginn's new home is "putting it on sure footing for the future."

The move "taught the community that a sense of community was certainly represented in the people [of Bishop Maginn], not necessarily the building or facility," said Mr. Virgiglio, himself a Maginn alumnus.

"Nothing has really changed," said Colin. "We're still the same place we always were."