Back at The Patrick School, Chris Chavannes, now in his third year as head coach after serving as Boyle’s longtime lieutenant, has resuscitated a program that was in danger of fading into oblivion after St. Pat’s announced in February 2012 that it would close due to financial reasons. Determined to keep the school going, St. Pat’s leaders opted over the summer to reopen at a building near Kean University as The Patrick School. “It was a lot of work but I wouldn’t say there was ever any doubt that we were going to get going,” Chavannes said. Thanks to financial contributions from Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard, and at least one anonymous donor who is sponsoring half the kids in the school, The Patrick School has new life despite having to close its eighth grade. Chavannes said there are 141 students now — “significantly more than there were last year” — and the academic program has undergone a major overhaul. “As a whole the school has done very well,” said Chavannes, who also serves as the Director of the school. “It’s to the point where we’ve had to order more lockers and more iPads and things like that, so that’s a big plus. And every day we register two or three more kids so there’s more coming in which is a good thing,” he said.
“We’ve hired an entire new faculty that has their credentials with Masters or Doctorates, and we have a whole new academic philosophy. For what was a very, very nerve-wracking experience, the most turbulent time of my entire life, when you look at the location of the school, when you look at where the kids are academically, it’s been an absolute blessing.”