O'Rourke Prep, the dream of Principal Mary Kay O'Rourke who passed away in August 2011, became a reality in September 2012 when St. Angela scholars returned to school. The sixth, seventh and eighth graders moved to the Cunningham building, the facility not having been used since the school population decreased late in the 20th century.
In Cunningham, the scholars were divided into "houses" each of which was composed of students from each of the junior high grades. In O'Rourke Prep there is a strong focus on building community: the older boys and girls welcoming and shepherding the younger and each house competing against the other two.
All core classes are conducted at grade level but students begin their day in "house" -- as part of a school family. In addition to standard classrooms, O'Rourke Prep features a full science lab funded by a generous gift from a St. Angela donor.
The houses are named for the aspirations St. Angela works to instill in all our scholars: success in high school, yes, but continued academic success. Therefore, the houses are named for prestigious Christian colleges in the midwest: Marquette, Notre Dame and DePaul. O'Rourke Prep visits at least one college campus every spring so that students can begin visualizing themselves continuing their education beyond high school.
O'Rourke opportunities include participation in the National Junior Honor Society for those who qualify; the chance to compete in writing and art competitions that result in scholarship awards; and support with the all important high school choice.
Assistant Principal Kelly Busa, who teaches O'Rourke Prep classes with three other faculty members says, "Everything we do in O'Rourke is designed to help our scholars aim higher."