Survivor Gives Message of Hope

The Pope Francis Forum for Dialogue and Diversity recently hosted Holocaust survivor Robbie Waisman, who spoke to the SJCS community as well as the community at large about his experiences in the Buchenwald concentration camp as a young boy. Mr. Waisman, who came to the Upstate from Canada, talked about the horrific experience of losing his family as well as his motivation for being an advocate for those facing insurmountable challenges. His testimony centered around the integrity of the human spirit and maintaining hope in seemingly hopeless situations. The evening event, which was shot as part of a documentary, seated a full house in the St. John Paul II Center. Mr. Waisman also graciously took the time to sign autographs and tell stories to his guests before his talk began.

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SJCS Participates in Life Chain

On Sunday, October 25, students and faculty from St. Joseph’s joined together to participate in the annual Life Chain along Woodruff Road. This year’s Life Chain had been postponed from an earlier date due to the SC storms and flooding. Life Chain is a peaceful, prayerful, public witness to the sanctity of all human life. Participants gather for one hour to pray and hold signs with life-affirming statements promoting adoption and respect for the inalienable right to life. Members of the St. Joseph’s group prayed a rosary to ask the intercession of Our Lady for greater reverence for life throughout the world.

MS Students Code for Make-A-Wish

St. Joseph’s chapter of the Jr. Beta Club sponsored their first ever “Hour of Code” event at SJCS with 40 students in attendance on Friday, November 13. “Hour of Code” is a worldwide initiative to get kids to spend an hour learning about computer coding. All proceeds from the event benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Overall, the Jr. Beta Club collected over $600 for the organization and the students learned valuable skills through fun activities and games.

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SJCS Honors Veterans

St. Josephs paid tribute to all veterans in a special Veteran’s Day Assembly held on Wednesday, November 11. Hosted by the school’s National Social Studies Honor Society, Fr. Jeremy Von Wodecki, who also serves as an Army Chaplain, opened the assembly with a prayer and several Boy Scouts led off with a Posting of the Colors and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Headmaster Keith Kiser welcomed all who were present, recognized by name SJCS graduates who have gone on to serve their country or are in military service academies, and introduced senior Alexandra Tamura (NSSHS Chapter President) who spoke of the men and women throughout history who have answered the call of duty and introduced the first two speakers who came to share their wartime experiences. Seniors Morgan Guest (Chapter Secretary/Treasurer), Ethan Veideman, and Dan Veideman read “The Submarine Tender” in honor of one of the speakers, John Rein.

  • Dr. Christopher Powers served in the US Army Medical Corps for 8 years as an active duty Army physician. He was deployed overseas during the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom conflict and at that time served as a Flight Surgeon with the 2/4 Aviation Battalion out of Fort Hood, Texas. Dr. Powers showed a PowerPoint highlighting some of the information in his speech.
  • Mr. John Rein Served in the United States Navy from 1943 until 1946. Mr. Rein served as a deep sea diver aboard the submarine tender Aegir, attaining the rank as SFc2. Mr. Rein is the great-grandfather of senior Michaela Biske. Mr. Rein also provided a powerpoint illustrating his time of service.

Senior Alie Fink, Chapter Vice-President of the NSSHS, introduced the final speaker:

  • John Williams, served in the United States Marine Corps from October 2001 until November 2009. He served two tours in Iraq, including the 2003 invasion and again in 2008. Williams was combat meritoriously promoted to Staff Sergeant during his second tour in Iraq. He was in the infantry and served in a light armored reconnaissance unit. Mr. Williams is the brother of senior Mark Williams, and this was his second year to speak at St. Joseph’s. He is currently a member of the Greenville County SWAT team.

The School Choir performed “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and several students stayed after the assembly was dismissed to ask questions of the veterans and thank them for their service.

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Students Perform at SCTA Convention

SJCS Theatre students recently competed in the South Carolina Theatre Association Convention at Furman University. While in attendance, the students participated at the 2nd annual “Tech Olympics,” performed a one act student directed play, and auditioned for SC college theatre programs. They received the following recognition for the weekend of events:

  • In the Tech Olympics, Sydney Hyer placed first and is the reigning state champion in the Costume Quick Change event. Sydney also claimed the title of “Twitter Winner” for the most social media posts and photobombs with keynote speakers and SCTA board members.
  • Nine juniors and seniors auditioned for theatre programs during the weekend; collectively, they received 50 callbacks to programs across the state.
  • The SJCS one act production of “Cagebirds,” directed by senior Josiah Tennent was showcased in the High School Theatre Festival, one of 30 plays performed. Sydney Hyer was recognized as an All Star Cast Member while Josiah Tennent received an All Star recognition for his student direction. “Cagebirds” placed 6th in the state.

Click here to view photos of “Cagebirds”.

Click here to view photos of the SCTA Tech Olympics.

TRACE Advocates Red Ribbon Week

National Red Ribbon Week was celebrated at SJCS during the week of October 25 and promoted by the high school club TRACE (Teens Rising Against Challenges Everyday). Moderated by faculty members Leigh Berman and Christine Wiethop, the students coordinated various activities and displays to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse for both middle and high school students. The group members read information about substance abuse during the daily announcements, distributed red ribbons to households, encouraged students to sign a banner and pledge to be drug free, held a red sock dress down day, created a sidewalk graveyard with the names of individuals who have lost their lives to drug abuse or drunk driving, exchanged baked goods for harmful tobacco and alcohol ads, and gave away bracelets, Frisbees, and lanyards at the home football game. Most impactful were the two guest speakers who spoke to the SJCS community about their previous history of substance abuse and steps into recovery. This allowed students to ask questions and get honest answers about the dangers of drugs and alcohol from individuals who were not much older than our seniors.

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Art Exhibit Displays Talents

St. Joseph’s held its annual Fall Art Exhibit from October 26-November 1 in the school library. The Fall Art Exhibit is traditionally for students, faculty, and staff to display any form of art that they have worked on over the summer. This may include crafts, quilts, photography, paintings, drawings, sculpture, etc. Work can originate from any location whether it is an individual pursuit or a summer art camp, Glazing Pot party, Color Clay Cafe fun, the Art Haven, etc. This is a great way to discover the creativity of our school family. The exhibit coincided with the Fall Play, The Curious Savage, and was on display during intermission as well as during the school day.

Thank you to our artists!

Elise Normand, 6th
Rachel Hall, 9th
Mary Kate Griffin, 10th
Katie Hudak, 10th
Kate Cassidy, 11th
Tara Conte, 11th
Brandon Fanning, 11th
Claire Sloan, 11th
Catherine Starks, 11th
Mimi Tierney, 11th
Andy Rosenzweig, 12th
Mya Salerno, 12th

Mary Cummings
David Kulikowski
Marla Palmer
Deb Pickard
Sarah Wicker

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Seniors Awarded HS “Heisman”

Congratulations to seniors Elizabeth DeMars and Kenneth Lava, the school’s winners in the Wendy’s High School Heisman (WHSH) Contest. As the collegiate Heisman Trophy is the premier individual award in college football, the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award is one of the most sought-after honors for students across the nation. Recipients are recognized for excellence in academics, athletics, and community/school leadership, making them a select group of high school seniors whose achievements reflect their efforts both in and outside the classroom.