Maryvale expansion in memory of late student

School to break ground Friday thanks to McCarthy capital campaign

May 13, 2010|By Katie V. Jones, The Towson Times

When Maryvale Preparatory School in Brooklandville breaks ground Friday on $12 million in upgrades and an expansion, the goal will be to benefit future students at the all-girls school.

But it could not have been done without a family's devotion to a student who died three years ago.

The project will include a new humanities center, a new turf field, softball field and track, road reorientation and a new storm water management facility. It is being accomplished as the result of the capital campaign, "In Her Name," in memory of Erinn McCarthy, who would have graduated with the Class of 2010.

Erinn McCarthy entered Maryvale as a sixth-grader who loved sports and the arts, according to her father, Bill McCarthy.

"Maryvale was the perfect place for her," McCarthy said. "The size of the school gave her the opportunity to try everything."

Before her sixth-grade year was over, Erinn was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. She battled the cancer for 31/2 years, attending school and socializing with friends when she was able.

"She kept up with her classes, doing the work and working with a tutor," McCarthy said. "The remarkable thing was she never let her illness define her, or prevent her from doing what she wanted or doing what was possible. She did what she could do."

Before Erinn died in March 2007, the freshman and her parents agreed that the best way to honor her memory would involve Maryvale.

"Helping Maryvale was very important to her, and what she asked us to do," McCarthy said. "From that comes this transformation project at Maryvale."

There had been discussions over the years about improvements needed at Maryvale, according to Sister Shawn Marie Maguire, headmistress at the school for 31 years.

The last project for the small campus of 386 students was the completion in 1998 of the Rodriguez Center, which featured the addition of a kitchen, dining room, science labs and computer labs.

Plans for a new campaign solidified after the McCarthys approached Maguire with their wish to lead the effort.

"How lucky we were to have them to give their time and energy to this school," Maguire said. Erinn "was a smart little girl for 14."

Plans for the new humanities center include a 500-seat auditorium, classrooms, computer labs and an art gallery.

School fields will be upgraded to turf, and a track will be installed. Also, the school's entrance off Falls Road will be reoriented to face the campus' landmark building, Wickliffe Castle.

A new storm-water management facility will be built to be "environmentally correct," Maguire said.

The project is scheduled to take about 18 months, with a target to be completed by the fall of 2011, Maguire said. The campaign, the largest in the school's 64 years, has raised $8.5 million to date.

Maguire is thankful that the Class of 2010, Erinn's classmates, will be present for the groundbreaking.

"It is important to do it now while our senior class is here," Maguire said. "We didn't get it built while they were here, but we'll get it dedicated."

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