St. Joseph’s annual Red Door Ceremony was held on Thursday, August 25th prior to the start of the school year’s first Mass. Headmaster Keith Kiser welcomed 121 ninth-grade students, as well as other new students in grades 10-12, into the high school with these words:
“On the morning of August 26, 1993, St Joseph’s opened its doors. The first thirteen students entered the high school through this red door, which served as the entrance to a little house next to a Lutheran Church on Augusta Road. Since then, by God’s providence, the generosity of many friends and the hard work of countless people, St. Joseph’s has become a beacon for fine Catholic education in the Upstate.
Every door is a symbol of a new beginning. As you enter high school here at St. Joseph’s, we invite you to enter a new world – a world of adventure, friendship, true education, and discovery. Christ calls Himself the door and the way to eternal life, and He invites us to step out of our normal expectations and follow Him.
To quote Pope John Paul II, ‘Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ!’
Students from the Class of 2020 and those who have joined us in other grades from other schools throughout the country – you have passed through the red door and so become part of St Joseph’s Catholic School. We pray that you will soon feel at home as part of our community. We welcome you!”
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It was back to school last week for 672 St. Joseph’s students with the start of classes on Wednesday, August 17th. A two-day Orientation period allowed students the opportunity to ease back into a new year, and for some, a new school. Changes in the school uniform were also welcomed by the student body, and the students embraced the first week back with excitement and look forward to many new opportunities in the year ahead.
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St. Joseph’s Catholic School students collected funds Tuesday morning by means of a “Dress Down” fundraiser to assist victims of the flooding in Louisiana. The students collected $6,403 and these funds will be sent to the Campus Ministry Office at St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette, Louisiana. The funds will help purchase supplies, food, school clothes, and the many other needs of the families affected by the flooding.
St. Joseph’s juniors Karoline Gillespy and Jeff Woodward were selected to be part of a group of Upstate high school students participating in the 2016-2017 Youth Leadership Greenville program. The Greenville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Greenville County School District, sponsors Youth Leadership Greenville in an effort to engage area youth in a series of learning experiences designed to develop, cultivate, and nurture their leadership potential and to engage them in Greenville’s future. Students are presented with many opportunities during this nine month leadership program to discover all that Greenville has to offer, examine more closely the careers they may be considering, and to find ways they can make a difference during their senior year in high school.
St. Joseph’s Fine Arts Department kicked off the school year with their summer stock theatrical production of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” With a cast of middle and high school students and parents, the production followed Alice on a wild journey through Wonderland as she worked her way to the Eighth Square in hopes of becoming a queen. Along the way, she met several of the strange and wonderful characters from Lewis Carroll’s classic novel – the Caterpillar, the Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty, and the Queen of Hearts.
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From Headmaster Keith Kiser…
The school’s theme this year appears in the form of a question posed to God: What are we that you should be mindful of us? The theme is inspired by Psalm 8, where the Psalmist, surveying the glories of creation, exclaims, “When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place,” and then asks with incredulity, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and a son of man that you care for him? Yet, you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor.”
In a day and age when the transcendent nature and value of the person seems to be challenged with every new act of hatred and violence, the school’s theme and image this year is a reminder of the dignity and worth of every person. Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son vividly captures the father’s embrace of his prodigal child. In this well-known parable, portrayed by the famous Dutch artist who saw himself as a prodigal returning late in life to his childhood faith, Jesus shows us God’s solicitous love for every person through the merciful embrace of the Father. Through this story and image, we are reminded that the human being’s true dignity and destiny, no matter how badly damaged, is discovered and restored in the loving arms of God the Father.
Congratulations to two seniors who have qualified to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program: David Lewis and Sara Slaughter. Based upon their 2015 PSAT scores, these students are among the 50,000 highest scoring participants in the country who qualified for this prestigious honor, selected from a group of 1.5 million program entrants. From these 50,000 high scorers, approximately 16,000 students will be named in September as National Merit Semifinalists.
SJCS Boys Cross-Country Coach and Math Department Chair George Carr was named the South Carolina 2015-16 Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year by the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association (SCACA) at their awards banquet held in Charleston in July. Currently in his fifteenth year of coaching for St. Joseph’s, Carr has led the Knights Cross-Country Team to six state titles (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015).
“This is really a tribute to the young men on my team, since for me to be considered for this honor, the team has to win the State Championship – and win it decisively,” added Carr. “I’m so proud that their efforts are being recognized.”
On Saturday July 30th, the St. Joseph’s JV and Varsity Football teams spent the afternoon, following morning practice and a team lunch, repairing homes as part of Rebuild Upstate. The boys volunteered their time painting houses, repairing walls and floors, and building ramps for handicap accessibility at three different locations within the greater Greenville community. The Knights football team has had a long-standing commitment to community service, but they consciously made the decision last year to officially kick off their football seasons by giving back to Greenville.
Rising sophomore and SJCS swimmer Liam Walker set three meet records at the SAIL Classics Swim Competition held Sunday, July 19th at the Westside Aquatic Center: Boys 13-14 50m Freestyle (24.81), Boys 13-14 100m Freestyle (54.38), and Boys 13-14 50m Butterfly (27.04). SJCS graduate John Kelly (’16) previously held the Boys 13-14 50m Butterfly record (27.39) that he set in 2012. Liam represented Gower Swim Team at the July 19th event.
Rising junior Emilio Trocha and his father, Dr. Steven Trocha, traveled to Peru for two weeks this summer on a medical expedition, where they helped to provide medical assistance to remote villages along the Amazon River. The expedition, titled Project Amazonas, provided Emilio an opportunity to use his Spanish language skills.