For 45 years, Mr. Paul J. Adams III, Executive Chairman of Providence St. Mel, has dedicated his life to educating and enriching the lives of children on the west side of Chicago. His success story starts with his unwavering belief in the unique potential of every child. “It’s expectations,” Adams shares, “It’s that you believe that they can do it. It makes me want to get up in the morning. It makes me want to stay up at night.”
Mr. Adams began his lifelong commitment to transforming lives in his home of Montgomery, Alabama while participating in bus boycotts and freedom marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Later, he traveled to Chicago, and began at Providence St. Mel, then a private Catholic high school, in 1971. When he arrived at the castle, he started as the director of guidance and was promoted to principal one year later.
When the Archdiocese of Chicago withdrew funding from the school in 1978, Mr. Adams spearheaded a national campaign to raise money for the school. In response to his public outcry and with the support of the Providence St. Mel students and community, the school received local and national media attention. Donations poured in from across the country, allowing Mr. Adams to keep our doors open and transition Providence St. Mel into the not-for-profit independent school that it is today.
Mr. Adams measures his success on the positive impact he has had on his students, “I base my success on the success of my graduates. If they are doing well, I am doing well. I don’t mean are they famous? I am talking about the things that matter. Have they become good citizens? Can they raise a family? Are they making someone else’s life better? If everyone did that, we would certainly have a safer country and a better world.”
According to Mr. Adams, “I learned early on that without a proper education, a person is doomed. If I could provide the right environment, our children could enter these doors and feel free to learn and prosper.” Due to his constant effort and dedication, we are #psmproud that for over 38 years, 100 percent of Providence St. Mel’s graduating seniors have been accepted to four-year colleges and universities!
In honor of Mr. Adam’s 45 years of service, we invite you to participate in contributing to the Paul J. Adams III Scholarship fund, which supports tuition for eighth grade students who could otherwise not afford the opportunity of a Providence St. Mel education. By sharing greatly in this record of academic achievement, you are a key stakeholder in the success of our students and of Providence-St. Mel School.