Walsh/STCS Opens Volpe International Residence Hall

School to Welcome First Class of Japanese Students This Fall

OLEAN (Aug. 11, 2022) – Archbishop Walsh Academy/Southern Tier Catholic School opened its international dorm Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. School officials lauded the grand opening as a new era for the private academy as a destination for cultural immersion – and a stepping stone to postsecondary and career success on a global scale.

The Volpe International Residence Hall, named to honor longtime Walsh/STCS benefactor Vince Volpe, offers a fully functioning dorm experience where international boarding students can live and learn in a safe environment.

Guests of honor at the ceremony included five Japanese students currently enrolled in the Walsh English Immersion Program, each of whom will likely attend Walsh next year. Seven of their high school classmates, who will soon be en route to the United States, have committed to Walsh to begin the 2022-23 school year.

“We can’t wait for our new friends from Japan to become part of the Walsh family, with their classmates already here today right behind them,” said Rich Esposito, a Walsh/STCS Board member and the International Program Director. “International is not new to Walsh. The International Program has been a big part of Walsh for over 10 years. At one point, we hosted 10 international students in one academic year from eight different countries.”

“What’s new,” he added, “is this boarding option. We now can host these students right off campus, and provide them all the safe nurturing they need while traveling and studying abroad.”

The Volpe International Residence Hall, located at 2216 W. State St., is the former 360Rize building. It was purchased and upgraded over the summer to comfortably house up to 10 international students with state-of-the-art living accommodations. There will be two resident assistants on site to mentor and chaperone the students. 

“We want them to feel right at home,” said Walsh/STCS President Dr. Colleen Taggerty, who assumed chief executive duties in July. “I’m so happy to meet and get to know all of our international students. It’s all part of the academic journey to becoming well-rounded global citizens: meeting folks from different cultures, religions and ways of thinking. Coming out of retirement, I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting learning opportunity – for us as much as them.”

That mutual learning experience is the point, noted Esposito. As much as the current cohort of international boarding students will benefit from immersion, Walsh/STCS students will also gain understanding and appreciation for other cultures, he said.

“We stress that so heavily,” Esposito said. “Yes, we’re a private Catholic school, but that doesn’t mean private Catholic education alone takes place here. We’re all inclusive and all embracing of all cultures and faiths. We strive for better understanding of international cultures, and our children collectively benefit from gaining a better perspective and worldview.”

Invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony were representatives from the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Olean officials, as well as Walsh/STCS Board members, faculty and staff. 

“We’re so happy to see so many of our longstanding community supporters here for this grand opening,” said Board Vice President Brittany Thierman. “We’ve always felt proud to be a valued member of this community and to be considered a viable academic alternative. The opening of this international dorm is a step toward doing our part to continue evolving and improving as an educational option for local, regional and international students alike.”

International families have traditionally chosen Walsh/STCS for the profound academic outcomes, Esposito continued. The school’s International Baccalaureate Programme – a world-renowned curriculum known for its academic rigor – has prepared hundreds of Walsh IB Diploma recipients for college success through the years. 

In addition to higher acceptance rates at local institutions like St. Bonaventure University and Jamestown Community College, Walsh graduates have consistently gained entry to the top 100 postsecondary schools in the U.S. The last five years alone, grads have attended Cornell University (17th, US News ranking), the University of Notre Dame (19th), Georgetown University (23rd), University of Rochester (34th), College of the Holy Cross (35th), Boston College (36th), Oberlin College (37th), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (55th), Muhlenberg College (67th), and Virginia Tech (75th).

“Why are these kids coming from literally halfway around the world to be here? They’re looking to the future – toward outstanding college and career opportunities,” Esposito said. “They’re coming here to this small, safe, close-knit community of Olean, NY because, quite frankly, Walsh is an excellent school.”

To learn more about the Archbishop Walsh/Southern Tier Catholic School International Program, visit stcswalsh.org/the-american-experience/.