New Stepinac High School President Sets Priorities
Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains has been a major part of the life of Father Thomas Collins.
Collins graduated from Stepinac in 1979 and for the past several years has been an educator, administrator and even the golf coach at the boys’ high school.
So the next logical step was for him was to become president of the high school and he recent did so.
The school’s board of trustees appointed him president and he took over the post on July 1. The high school has been “a passion for me for my whole life,” Collins said on Sept. 1
Collins is replacing Monsignor Anthony Marchitelli as president, who was appointed administrator of Our Lady of the Assumption parish in the Bronx.
Collins is the ninth president in the 63-year history of the school.
As the new academic year opens, Collins, 50, discussed his priorities for the school in his new role. One of his efforts at the school has been to share his vocation of becoming a priest in 1992. “That has given me so much joy and so much satisfaction,” he said.
In 1995 Collins returned to the high school as a teacher. Six years later Collins was appointed associate dean of students and from 2002 through 2007 he served as dean of students. In 2007 he joined the school’s Office of Development.
While academics and Catholicism are priorities for Collins, he has another love — golf. He recently stepped down as coach of the high school golf team, a post he held for 15 years.
Collins said the president of the high school had three main priorities. “I oversee what all the other administrators are doing,” he said.
Another key responsibility of the school president is fund raising, Collins said. The school provides financial assistance for students who cannot afford full tuition, he said.
To raise funds, Collins said he want to increases the amount of active alumni. About 14 percent of the alumni are active, he said. “I want to double that in the next three to five years,” he said, adding he wanted more school graduates to take pride in their school.
A third priority as president is to increase the current student enrollment for the current roughly 600 students to 800, Collins said.
Collins said he wanted to publicize the quality of the education program offered at Stepinac. His school’s students are high achievers on the SAT tests and get placed in outstanding colleges, Collins said. “We have excellent results from our students,” he said.
“We’re a reasonably priced school” that delivers strong academic results, Collins said, adding he wanted his faculty to receive the recognition they deserve.
Graduating from Stepinac has become a tradition in the Collins family. His two brothers, John (class of 1980) and Joe (class of 1981) also graduated from the school, as have his nephew, Joe (2009) and another nephew Michael (2011).
Collins celebrates Sunday mass at Our Lady of Sorrow Church in White Plains; Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne; and Resurrection Church in Rye. He is a member of the board of the School of the Holy Child in Rye and is active in civic affairs, serving as an aide to the grand marshal at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in White Plains.