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Student aids in renaming of Roman Catholic High School theater, honors Charles Fuller

KYW Radio Philadelphia 1/27/2023 John Mc Devitt
people gathering around new theater sign © Provided by KYW Radio Philadelphia people gathering around new theater sign

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Roman Catholic High School’s Black Box Theater now carries a new name that posthumously honors an alumnus of the school.

The Charles H. Fuller, Jr. ‘56 Theater was named after Pulitzer and Tony award-winning playwright Charles Fuller, from the class of 1956, who died in October 2022.

The idea for the name change came from Brad Ferdinand, a junior at the high school.

Ferdinand said he wrote a proposal to the high school’s rector, Reverend Joseph Bongard, but it wasn’t until the unveiling ceremony on Thursday that he found out they approved his request.

“I was so shocked because I didn’t think this was going to happen,” Ferdinand said.

He said he wanted to name it in honor of Fuller because he has such close ties to their school and is basically somebody who is just like him.

“I identify as a Haitian-American,” Ferdinand said. “I came here when I was like four and I then was raised up with literature and stuff that was from American artists … and guess I had always encountered issues of systemic racism within America.”

“So seeing that from Charles Fuller’s story – honestly, I can relate to it and it only further drew me to pushing for this.”

Bongard said he is proud of Ferdinand and what he has accomplished.

“Brad, without a doubt, is an exceptional young man and in his very humble way he had a dream and he pursued it and that’s what we encourage our guys to do.”

“You know a lot of times they are too timid and nothing happens unless someone does something and we have to be a catalyst for change.”

Ferdinand said he drew encouragement to do this from a cast member from one of Fuller’s productions, “A Soldier’s Play,” who pulled him aside and told him not to be afraid of the future or to push for change.

“That’s what I did today and that’s what I want to continue to do also.”

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