Local boys do good, donate $500,000 to Archbishop Curley High School

Decades after their parents scrimped and saved to send them to Archbishop Curley High School, three brothers have acknowledged the sacrifice with a $500,000 donation in their honor to the all-boys high school in Baltimore.

“We could always tell our parents were very proud to send us to Curley – you could see it in their faces,” said Andrew Suehle, a member of the class of 1987 who made the gift with brothers John, class of 1976, and Joseph, class of 1983.

“Curley’s obviously very important to us,” Andrew added. “It’s a large part of who we are and in our DNA, and we want it to continue for generations to come.”

The brothers founded a Baltimore-based visual effects company in the late 1990s that would became known as Image Engineering. From pyrotechnics to 3-D animation to laser effects, the Dundalk-based company has provided effects for the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles as well as other professional sports teams and entertainers including hip hop artist Jay-Z.

Yearbook photos from Archbishop Curley show John, Joseph and Andrew Suehle. (Courtesy Archbishop Curley)

Through their successes, the Suehle brothers have remained grateful to their parents, Dorothy and the late Edward Suehle, who worked as an engineer for Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.

“They gave us a childhood,” Andrew said, adding that such a gift “was not based on material things.”

Dorothy and Edward Suehle provided a “loving” atmosphere for the brothers to pursue their passions, Andrew said, including pyrotechnic experiments in the family’s Essex backyard.

Wait – their parents let them perform pyrotechnic experiments in the backyard?

“They really did,” Andrew said with a laugh, adding that John, the eldest, used to create elaborate Fourth of July displays for aunts and uncles. “My mom did a lot of praying that we would all be safe, but it was all worth it,” he said.

Before Curley, the brothers, as well as their two sisters, attended St. Clare School in Essex, which closed in 2010. The sisters, Kathleen Wandishin and Patricia White, went on to the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, graduating in 1975 and 1979, respectively. Kathleen is an administrative assistant in Curley’s advancement office.

Andrew said he and his brothers “never really left” Curley, assisting at the annual Curley Gala by providing lighting and donating auction items.

He added that his brother, Joseph, a parishioner of St. Clare, has one son who graduated from the high school and one who is in his senior year.

Andrew is a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist in Hydes, where he has a daughter at the parish school. His son is at Calvert Hall College High School, which is much closer to his residence than Curley, he said.

John, the other brother, is a parishioner of St. John in Westminster.

“We are so grateful to these gentlemen for thinking of their alma mater, as well as honoring their mother and father,” Conventual Franciscan Father Donald Grzymski, president of Curley, told the Catholic Review. “Their gift will certainly help us move toward the future.”

He added that the brothers’ action “sends kind of an inspiring message to those parents who make sacrifices now and into the future: Your children really are going to remember it and appreciate it.”

In a statement, Father Grzymski called the unrestricted gift “truly transformational for our school and will benefit our current students along with generations to come.”

Although Image Engineering does “at least” 85 percent of its business outside of Maryland, Andrew estimated, the Suehle brothers have remained in the area for one reason.

“It’s family,” he said. “It’s very important to us.”

When the Catholic Review spoke to Andrew Suehle Jan. 26, he said that he and his brothers had informed his mother they had made a donation to Curley. They planned to tell her the amount during a Jan. 27 visit.

Erik Zygmont

A journalist since 2005, Erik wrote for small-town publications in New Hampshire before he left for Germany, where he taught English for two years, starting in 2009. He moved to Baltimore and served as editor of the Baltimore Guide from 2012 to 2015. He then served as a staff writer for Catholic Review until August 2017 when his family made plans to relocate from Maryland. He currently serves as a freelance contributor.

Erik is grateful for the richness of the Catholic faith he has experienced since, owing both to his access as a journalist and the Baltimore Archdiocese being the Premier See.