Observing Lent at St. Joseph’s

During this Lenten season, the students of St. Joseph’s have taken many opportunities to engage more fully in their faith, both Catholic and non-Catholic students alike, beginning with all-school Mass on Ash Wednesday.

 

Each Friday during Lent, several teachers including Mr. Karl Orbon and Mrs. Lynn Connelly, take their classes to the chapel or the John Paul II Center to pray through the Stations of the Cross together. Mr. Orbon’s theology class reads a different version each week, reflecting on the Passion of Christ through the scriptures and the various writing of different authors. This has also been a wonderful opportunity for other faculty and staff members to join the students as they are able and observe this Lenten practice together.

In addition to the regular weekly confession schedules which offers three separate opportunities throughout the week, St. Joseph’s once again hosted a Lenten Penance Service on March 15. Both the Middle and High Schools attended an hour of silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament while priest from many of the surrounding parishes so generously attended to give of their time to hear confessions at private stations throughout the gym. It was truly beautiful seeing so many of our students take advantage of the sacrament!

 

Update: National Merit Finalists Named

Congratulations to Andrew Lyons and Carson McAbee who were named National Merit Finalists and ranked in the top one percent of the nation’s high school students, and Anna Catalina Lindstrom who was named National Merit Semifinalist.

The National Merit Scholarship Program, a privately financed academic competition for recognition and scholarships, bases its awards on high school student results on the PSAT.

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Congratulations to seniors Christian Castillo, Dominic Mosley, and Megan Seidel, who have been named Commended Students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. These students placed among the top 50,000 of more than 1.6 million students who entered the competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT).

Congratulations to Christian Castillo and Anna Catalina Lindstrom, who have been named National Hispanic Scholars. These students scored in the top 2.5% among Hispanic and Latino PSAT/NMSQT test takers in the region.

Band Awarded Superior Rating at SCISA Music Festival

On Thursday, March 15, St. Joseph’s band students participated in the South Carolina Independent Schools Association (SCISA) Annual Music Festival. The spring Music Festival involves over 1,100 talented students from SCISA member schools.

St. Joseph’s entered 2 groups in the Large Instrumental category. The 6th grade band with twenty-nine student members and the audition only Festival Band consisting of forty-five 7th and 8th graders, each performed two selections for a professional music judge. Both groups were awarded a Superior rating by the judge, who provided feedback to the group immediately following the performances. Band Director Marj Malphrus commented, “This is a nice experience for our students and we can continue to make improvements for our spring concert on May 10”. The Festival Band will travel to Charlotte, NC for another festival in May.

Barbara McGrath Honored by Catholic Education Foundation

The Catholic Education Foundation hosted its 28th annual Salute to Catholic School Alumni Dinner at the Galt House Hotel on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The Salute honored six graduates of Catholic schools who have had an impact on the community. Among this list of honorees was our own Barbara McGrath, one of the original founders of St. Joseph’s who currently serves as the Director of Admissions.

Established in 1990, the Catholic Education Foundation Salute raises funds for families, parishes and schools to provide tuition assistance for families as well as grants for religious education, professional development of teachers and advancements in technology. In the fall of 2017, the Foundation and its funding partners awarded an all-time high $6.5 million in tuition assistance to a record 3,000 students in Catholic elementary schools.

Learn more about the Catholic Education Foundation here, and hear more of Barbara’s story in the founding of St. Joseph’s here in her video interview at the bottom of the page. Congratulations for this recognition of your tremendous and continuing work on behalf of Catholic education!

Meet Eric Nash, Upcoming Athletic Director

We are pleased to welcome Mr. Eric Nash to St. Joseph’s as our upcoming Athletic Director! Coach Nash will be starting in June following the retirement of our own RJ Beach. Coach Nash is coming to us from a very successful career with the Wofford College football program, where he has served for fifteen years as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator under Coach Mike Ayers, as well as academic advisor and budget manager. “I’m very happy to be undertaking a new opportunity with new challenges,” said Coach Nash. “After fifteen years in college athletics, the chance to work with high school students and being able to make a positive impression on them earlier in life is very exciting.”

Coach Nash is very involved as an active member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Spartanburg, the Knights of Columbus, and also gives generously of his time to supporting St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School. “Catholic education allows you to develop the whole person – academically, physically, and spiritually. I’m very passionate about how athletics contributes to that, and how perfectly the St. Joseph’s mission fits with that philosophy.”

Coach Nash will be on campus periodically throughout the spring before his first official day on June 1, so please be sure to welcome him if you see him!

2017-18 Winter Sports Awards & Honors

Varsity Girls Basketball (5th in Region)

All-Region: Joelle Saunders
PAA Greenville County All-Star game selection: Joelle Saunders

 

Varsity Boys Basketball (2nd in Region, 2nd Round Playoffs)

All-Region: Colin Burns & Jonathan Heijjer
PAA Greenville County All-Star game selection: Jonathan Heijjer & Emilio Trocha
Region Coach of the Year: Paul Assinesi

 

Wrestling (3rd in Region)

Team Awards
Most Outstanding Wrestler: Conley Poole
Knight Award: Cian Rusnak

 

Cheerleading

Team Awards
MVP: Reagan Chittum
Knight’s Award: Ashley Caputo
Leadership Award: Camille Hoover
Most Spirited Award: Lorena Cicale

Students Remember Victims of School Violence

St. Joseph’s Catholic School held a student-led service at 10:00 AM to stand against violence in schools and show solidarity with the victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The entire student body was present in the athletic stadium, along with the faculty and staff.

“We wanted to join this national moment in a safe and powerful way that would create an impact,” said SJCS junior Maegan White, who coordinated the event. “It was extremely important to us [the students] to incorporate our Christian faith into how we approached showing our support.”

Seventeen students read the names and a short biography of the seventeen victims in Parkland, Fla., invoking prayers of eternal rest and observing a moment of silence following each name. Other students led a prayer to end violence, and recognized the victims of each US school shooting since Columbine in 1999.

Headmaster Keith Kiser remarked immediately following the event that it was a tremendously moving experience. “As a school, we wanted to provide a positive environment for the students to engage in this national conversation. They planned everything, and it was perfect.”

Tickets On Sale – Spring Musical, March 22-25

 

Purchase Tickets

Tickets are on sale for the spring musical, Little Women: The Broadway Musical! Performances will be March 22-25.

  • ThursdayMarch 22 @ 7:00 (Preview Performance, discounted ​price)
  • FridayMarch 23 @ 7:00
  • Saturday​March 24 @ 7:00
  • SundayMarch 25 @ 3:00

Based on the classic novel of the same name, journey into the lives of the March family. The bonds of sisterhood run deep as the wild stories and antics unfold among the four sisters. The girls struggle with maintaining a connection to their family’s roots as they fight to fulfill their dreams.

 

BISSINGER AND DOBSON SET NEW MEET RECORDS

St. Joseph’s Track and Field teams performed extremely well at prestigious Chick-fil-a Invitational at Eastside on Saturday, March 10th! Annika Bissinger set the new Meet record of 2:19.69 with a win in the Girls 800 Meter Run, besting her own previous Meet record of 2:28.73 set in 2015. Ava Dobson, in her first year running track, set the new Meet record of 10:55.35 with a first place finish in her first-time-ever racing in the Girls 3200 Meter Run besting the previous record of 11:35.54 set in 2016 by Madison Ellis of Eastside. Other notables include Braydon Bennett’s 2nd place finish in the Boys 110 Hurdles with a time of 15.46 and 3rd in the Boys 400 Hurdles with a time of 54.11, as well as Madison Turcotte’s 3rd place in the Girls 400 Hurdles with a time of 1:12.03. The St. Joseph’s Girls and Boys teams both finished 12th out of 21 schools participating.

Boys Golf Results

Senior golfer Ben Loudermilk posted a 37 to tie for medalist honors Monday in a tri-match at the Preserve at Verdae.

The Knights (3-2) narrowly lost to Christ Church 166-167. Landrum posted a 215 total. Junior Ryan Gorman fired a 40 while senior Greg Hazelhurst and eighth-grader Joey Clary shot 45. Carly Lyvers had a 47 and CJ Sahlman a 59 for the Knights.

St. Joseph’s will be playing this Saturday in the Ninety-Six Invitational tournament.

Boys golf
Monday at The Preserve
Team: Christ Church 166, St. Joseph’s 167, Landrum 215.
Individuals: 1. Rafe Reynolds (CC), Ben Loudermilk (SJ) 37, 3. Ryan Gorman (SJ) 40.
Records: CC 2-0, SJCS 3-2, Landrum 0-5
Other SJCS scores: Greg Hazelhurst 45, Joey Clary 45, Carly Lyvers 47, CJ Sahlman 59.

Minimester 2018 Makes Big Impact

Every year, the typical schedule here gets turned upside for a week to allow for a time of special exploration and discovery. Minimester allows the students to explore topics outside the classroom in a unique way, and also gives the faculty an opportunity to share their diverse interests. Last week, Minimester 2018 brought a fantastic offering of special courses for the high school students to choose from, including Civil Rights History Tour, Philosophy of the Twilight Zone, Rocket Science for Non-Rocket Scientists, The Magic of Physics, NASCAR, Marine Biology, History of US Fashion, and Middle Earth and Beyond, just to name a few.

While most trips stay in the local area, a few each year take the students to special destinations to immerse in the experience in a different way. For Megan Koon‘s group of twenty students, The Magic of Physics took them behind the scenes at Walt Disney World. They participated in two programs, Energy and Waves, which took them behind the scenes of the Haunted Mansion to learn about Pepper’s Ghost Effect, and Properties of Motion, in which the students rode Space Mountain with the lights on and then off to learn about the effect of light and sound on perspective. During that program, they also rode Big Thunder Mountain to discuss centripetal force.

Another exceptional trip out of town this year was led by Jennie Neighbors and Meby Carr, taking ten students to Alabama for a Civil Rights History Tour. The group traveled to Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, visiting the the Equal Justice Initiative, 16th Street Baptist Church (bombed by the KKK in 1963), Rosa Parks Museum, Southern Poverty Law Center Memorial, the Alabama State House, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church (where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was pastor from 1954 to 1960), and more. So many unexpected and powerful moments came out of the trip, such as our students meeting a man who marched from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. King.  While at Dexter Avenue, students had the opportunity to hear from tour guides and to read passages from Dr. King’s addresses from behind his podium, truly bringing the experience to life!

SCISA Literary Team Brings Home Awards

The SCISA Literary Team travelled to Summerville on March 7 to compete at the State Literary Meet. Brian Rosenzweig won first place in the state for Extemporaneous Essay Writing. Other competitors were Katie Hudak, Extemp. Essay Writing, Connor Williams and Riley Fesler for Extemporaneous Speaking, and Sydney Read and Robby Matlock for Oral Interpretation.

Letter from the Headmaster – 25th Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, in August of 1993, the founders of St. Joseph’s Catholic School took a leap of faith and opened with only 13 students enrolled (all 9th graders) and a mere $800 in the bank.  On Saturday, February 3rd, 2018, our school community threw a big party to celebrate 25 years of providing Catholic high school education in the Upstate.   (Of course, SJCS added a middle school in 2003.)

Over 500 people attend the special Mass with Bishop Guglielmone, Father Newman, Fr. Duncan, and Fr.  Andrew Fryml (Class 2008), who was a very inspiring homilist.  868 people RSVP’d for the party that followed in the gym and featured stirring remarks from Dr. Joby Moon, husband of founding board chair, Mrs. Margaret Ann Moon, and the bestowal of our first ever alumni Alumni Awards on Juliane Laskowski (Class of 2006), GP McLeer (Class of 2006), and Andrew Fryml (Class of 2008).   Rod McClendon was the MC for an evening that included food trucks, a beer garden, and a line-up of bands all with ties to St. Joseph’s Catholic School.  Lauren Gragtmans (Class of 2005) came all the way from New York city to perform.  Brandon Blaso (Class of 2010) played the drums for Randamonium.  And the front man of the headlining band, The Winter Sounds, Patrick Keenan, was in the first class at St. Joseph’s.  I had fun showing Patrick the Red Door and taking his picture next to the brick with his name on it.

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What began in a little house on Augusta Road has blossomed into a nationally recognized regional Catholic school located in the heart of Greenville County that now enrolls nearly 700 students in grades 6 through 12.  Now in my 18th year as headmaster, I have had the honor of knowing and working with most of the women and men who have helped to make this school into the beacon of fine Catholic education that it is today.  When I think of all the faces over the years, whether as trustees, volunteers, or teachers and coaches, who dedicated so much of their time, talent, treasure, and energy, it fills me with wonder, gratitude and humility at what a relatively small group of people can do when they believe in a common mission and are willing to sacrifice for it.  It was a sheer delight to see so many of these men and women at the 25th Anniversary Mass and party.  Looking out at all these faces that night, I was reminded of something I had just read by Fr. Spitzer about Heaven.  “Jesus uses the image of the messianic banquet to convey the love and joy of the Kingdom of Heaven.  (Heaven) will resemble a perfect banquet with all the foods we like, with all the people we would want to be with, and they will all be like family to us.”  The 25th Anniversary Celebration felt like a little taste of this.

The founders of St. Joseph’s had a vision for establishing a school that would educate students who would make a difference by living lives of intelligent and creative service inspired by the love of God and love for others.  As Mrs. Margaret Ann Moon liked to say: “Our graduates are destined to change the world.”

Throughout this 25th academic year, my thoughts have often been on our graduates.  Are they living up to the hopes and expectations of our founders?  With our oldest graduates still under 40 years old, it’s admittedly a little premature to tell what kind of lasting impact our graduates are going to have on Greenville, the state of South Carolina, and the country, let alone the world.  Yet, as I talked to many of our graduates at their annual Christmas social and read through the nominations for the Alumni Awards, it’s evident to me that they are already on the right track to living up to the founders’ vision.

To this point, I have had unexpected encounters in recent months with graduates and heard stories about others who are already changing the world for the better.  For example, I recently bumped into one graduate who told me that she is Greenville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year; another who is a theater teacher at Pickens High School; another who heads the Embrace Program at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School; and countless others who are teaching at diocesan and public schools throughout the region, the state, and the country.  Imagine their surprise, for example, when two St. Joseph’s graduates (members of the Classes of 2002 and 2011) discovered recently that they are teaching at the same Catholic school in Kentucky!

Then, there is the young lady who is watching her dream since middle school of building a home in the Upstate for unwed mothers finally come true.  I am especially proud of the young man who as a college student donated his bone marrow to someone he didn’t know because he signed up with his college baseball teammates for the Be The Match program and discovered that his marrow was the perfect match.  That same pride extends to the all-conference, senior captain football player at Carnegie Mellon who would tell you that one of his greatest joys in college has been getting to know Mikey, a young boy with a serious heart condition, through his involvement with Team Impact at The Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.  A member of my senior staff told me earlier this year that she ran into a SJCS graduate at the GHS emergency room, where our graduate is working as a doctor.  This young doctor is one of countless graduates who are or are in training to be doctors, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, and physical therapists. Then there are those who are using their considerable talents to enrich the arts locally, statewide, and nationally, including the Executive Director of the SC Arts Alliance and the associate producer of the Broadway production of Anastasia.

When it comes to impacting the business community, there are a whole host of young women and men who are beginning to make their mark on Greenville.  For example, I bumped into one young man with his wife and two small children recently at a sporting event who told me that he is now the Chief Operating Officer of Tribe 513, and we talked about his classmate who is rapidly developing a successful local real estate company and their mutual friends who are working with him.   A few days after that I was with a friend whose cancer research center recently joined forces with GHS.  He told me how impressed he was with the SJCS graduate who was responsible for publicizing the new partnership.

Finally, there is the impact that our graduates are having on the Church.  Countless graduates are teaching or have taught in parish religious education programs and helped lead their parish youth ministry programs.  Our graduates have also been well-represented in Lucis Via, the state’s young adult ministry, as both leaders and participants.   Then there are those men who have answered the call to the priesthood and religious life, including our most recent graduate to be ordained a priest of the Diocese of Charleston (Class of 2009), who is serving his first assignment which includes being the part-time Chaplain at Cardinal Newman School in Columbia.  Two other SJCS graduates are currently in the seminary preparing for the diocesan priesthood, and Brother Augustine (formerly Phillip from the Class of 2009) is a Benedictine Monk in Norcia, Italy.

What pleases me most, however, is what I see every Sunday morning at Mass.   From where I sit at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, everywhere I look I can see our graduates participating in Mass.  They are there with their parents, their new spouses, and in some cases, they are juggling small children, such as the member of the Class of 2006, who often sits directly in front of me with her husband and three of the cutest young children you’ll ever see.

So, yes, when I think about our graduates, I do think they are beginning to fulfill our founders’ vision of changing the world for the better.  A few of them are doing this in what we would consider extraordinary ways, but most are finding a way to change the world through doing ordinary things with great passion and love.

In closing, in this anniversary year, I’m also mindful of all the things that didn’t go right and the mistakes we made over the years.  I personally wish I had a few do-overs in order to try to retain good teachers and staff who got away, and I’d like another chance at how I handled a few discipline situations.  In thinking of these and other regrets and missed opportunities, I’m reminded of something else our founding board chair used to say to me often: “We’re not doing this, God is.”  Literally, thank God!  For if we were left up to our own devices, I’m certain that we’d have never made it to this milestone year.   Thank you to all in the community who made these 25 years possible through your generous support.  May you take satisfaction in the fact that St. Joseph’s Catholic School is changing the world for the better one graduate at a time.

Keith F. Kiser, Headmaster of St. Joseph’s Catholic School

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