Bill McKenna’73 may recall that he was an average student, but his 30+ years of consistently donating is nothing short of extraordinary. Read Bill McKenna’s reflections on his student experience and what inspires his continued loyalty today.
Reflecting on your time as a Bonner student, what was your experience like?
Looking back on my experience now, I appreciate it more. I really was just an average student going through, but I enjoyed it.
I remember it was a comforting, friendly place. I enjoyed attending mixers, and watching our football, basketball and soccer games.
I was more of a supporter, but I regret not participating in more activities. I was on the cross country team my senior year, but I quit two weeks before the season ended to accept a job as a janitor at a local school. I regret that, but didn’t let it stop me; I’ve been running for over 45 years.
What led you to choose Bonner & Prendie for your high school education?
As the oldest of six children, I was the first of my family to attend Bonner. Halfway through my 9th grade year, my family moved from Philadelphia to Delaware County which allowed me attend Bonner based on our new parish. But, it worked out well for me. The tuition was very affordable at the time. I began attending Bonner in November of my freshman year. All three of my younger brothers also attended Bonner and my two sisters attended Prendie.
Where did life take you after graduating from Bonner?
Bonner played a big role in my college decision. During my senior year, a representative from Drexel University visited my school to talk about the co-op program. Though many of my friends were going to Penn State, Drexel seemed like the right fit for me, so I decided to enroll in the 5-year co-op program. After graduating college, I worked as a CPA in Public Accounting and at two insurance companies for basically my whole career. I retired in 2021. My wife Lorrie and I will be celebrating our 42nd wedding anniversary in September and we have one son, Colin, who lives in Baltimore with his wife Amanda and their two children, who we love visiting as much as possible. We lived in Havertown for
30 years and moved to southwest center city Philadelphia about ten years ago.
What inspired you to begin contributing to Bonner & Prendie?
Living in Havertown, I knew a lot of the kids in my Parish who attended Bonner after me; they were good kids and had a great experience. My niece also attended Prendie and played on the soccer and crew teams, so I went to her games a few times a year. I’m a big high school sports fan and have followed Bonner athletics through the years. I always knew the general vibe of the school without really being formally involved. I decided to begin contributing every year to the unrestricted fund and I continue to support it today. It’s been 30 years.
Why is catholic education important to you? When I attended, the affordability of Catholic education was a key factor for why my family and many others chose to attend. The cost of tuition today would make it difficult for families like mine to be able to afford to send their kids to Catholic school. My Bonner experience gave me a foundation of faith and morality that has guided me throughout my life. It’s essential to me that others have the opportunity to receive the same education.
The committee who rallied together to save our school when it faced the threat of closure years ago did an incredible service to our students and community. I donated at the time, but I want to give them a shout-out for their incredible work.
Why do you continue to support Bonner & Prendie?
I value my experience at Bonner and the foundational lessons I learned there about Jesus and the Bible. I want to make sure it continues to provide the same Catholic education to future generations.
I’m not a big donor. I’m just an average guy who gives consistently, but Bonner & Prendie appreciates my support and lets me know it makes a difference. The school is really diligent about mailing thank you letters after each of my donations and often Tara writes a personal, handwritten note on the letter. It may only be a few words, but it’s meaningful. As a donor, I appreciate those gestures. It has encouraged me to continue giving. Some organizations don’t do this, but Bonner & Prendie gets an “A” on that one.
Q: As your 50th reunion approaches, what are you looking forward to the most?
One of the things I like about Bonner are the friendships that have carried over. During my career, whenever I met a colleague who attended Bonner, it was an easy connection. One of the guys in my department went to Bonner and it was an easy friendship. I’m looking forward to seeing classmates who I maybe haven’t seen in 50 years, but I know in many ways it will feel like no time has passed.