“Never a question of where our family would attend”
To say that Jack and Cathie (Hasson) Reilly support Catholic education at Bishop Guilfoyle is a pretty big understatement. First the couple both graduated from BG (Jack in '68 and Cathie in '69), then their children Regina, Ryan and Rachel graduated from BG in the late eighties and nineties, and now they have five grandchildren currently enrolled – Konner and Karson Kiesewetter and Maeve, Patrick and Braden Reilly. They also have two grandchildren – Cameron and Ashley German – attending Catholic schools in the Pittsburgh area. Two older grandchildren have already graduated; Rylan German from Serra Catholic in McKeesport and Morgan Kiesewetter from Bishop Guilfoyle. Both are currently sophomores in college.
“BG totally influenced my life,” Cathie says. “Going to BG gave me the stepping stone to everything. It taught me to be a better Christian and taught me that there are rules in life that you should follow. The teachers and nuns taught me how to be efficient and prompt in the working world.”
Jack echoes his wife's sentiment. “BG has influenced my life by providing a strong foundation for Catholic morals and values that have guided my decisions throughout my life and professional career. The BG influence, some 50 years later, has provided me with life-long friendships, great memories and exciting new adventures we share with our grandchildren.”
These days, their schedule is filled with school sports and activities while they support their five grandchildren at BG and travel to Pittsburgh to attend games and activities for their grandchildren at school in the Pittsburgh area. These events bring back good memories of their own time at BG.
“I have too many favorite memories to just pick one,” Cathie says. “I was the captain of the color guard and was involved in various clubs. I still have many friends from my high school years who I stay in touch with and love dearly. I would go back and do my four years all over again. I have nothing negative to say at all. I still bleed purple and gold! Truly my favorite memories of BG are when my children and now my grandchildren attend school there. I am so glad that I can attend all their various sports and activities at BG and watch them become the adults and young adults they are today.”
When asked to pick a favorite memory, Jack points to the present day as well. “There are so many to choose from, but some of the my favorites are watching high school graduations. Our children, and now grandchildren, have accomplished so much in their four years, and are now entering the next stages of their lives.”
BG is a vital part of their lives because Catholic education is so important, they say. “I truly believe having Christ and prayer in your schooling atmosphere makes students an overall better person and prepares them in life,” Cathie says. “It prepares them in being a Christian towards your fellow man, and in appreciating what they have. BG is truly that school – there was never a question where our children and grandchildren would be attending school.”
Their children have continued the Reilly tradition of involvement. Regina, Ryan and Rachel, along with their spouses have been involved with coaching basketball, football and volleyball at BG or our Catholic grade schools. Their daughter-in-law Megan Reilly serves as the cheerleading advisor (where granddaugher, Maeve Reilly is a cheerleader), while son-in-law Kraig Kiesewetter (BG '91) can be seen at JV and junior high football games doing the yard markers and coaching BG baseball.
Because they've experienced the life-changing power of education at BG, giving back to the school is very important for the Reillys. “We give back to BG because we want to make sure that future generations can reap the rewards that our family experienced. For years we had a scholarship for students in our name and we currently forward that money to the Marauder Club every year.”
“We believe that education here is so vital,” Jack says, “because it totally prepares you for everything you may encounter and experience in life. With God and a strong faith in your life, you can survive the good and the bad, and always be thankful.”