STEM Club Performs Rocket Launches

After almost two weeks of waiting for the rain to clear, the middle school STEM Club held their rocket launch on Tuesday, February 26.

STEM Club, which explores careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math with multiple hands-on activities, has been constructing their rockets with the guidance of faculty members Lisa Shapiro, Joanna McLucas, and Brian Haffey. Mr. Haffey, who teaches Honors Aerospace Science in the high school, assisted the students with safely mounting the rockets on the launch stand and operating the controls while Mrs. Shapiro showed them how to add the propellant.

It was an excited culmination of their hard work and a great introduction to this branch of study!

Anthony Ray Hinton: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row – Feb 27

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
7 – 8:30 PM Book signing to follow
McAlister Auditorium, Furman University

Anthony Ray Hinton — Exonerated after 30 years on death row

Anthony Ray Hinton spent thirty years on death row for a crime he did not commit. Wrongly convicted in the state of Alabama for two capital murders with erroneous evidence and inadequate representation, Hinton was eventually exonerated after more than a decade of litigation by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) on his behalf.
Hinton now travels across the world speaking about his experience and serves as the EJI’s community educator. Most recently, Hinton has authored a memoir, The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, which Oprah Winfrey selected as her Book Club Summer 2018 Read.

St. Joseph’s Catholic School Pope Francis Forum for Dialogue and Diversity is sponsoring this event with the Furman University NAACP, Furman University Religious Council, Furman University Poverty Awareness Committee, and the Furman University Student Diversity Council.


Interfaith Panel Shares Both Differences and Unity

By Bob Castello

A distinguished group provided a variety of profound thoughts during Wednesday night’s interfaith panel discussion in the St. John Paul II Center at St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

But, as some of them pointed out, it wasn’t as much about what they said as it was about the fact that they were there to say it.

They came to try to answer the question, “Who is My Neighbor?” While pointing out the obstacles that still exist, they also reminded the gathering about the erosion of such barriers.
“They’re actually being worn away, and you who are all here are proof of that,” said Frances Worthington, a representative of Greenville’s Baha’i congregation. “Twenty years ago, you might not have come to this, and today you did.”

“Fifty years ago, we wouldn’t have had this meeting,” said Rev. Dennis McManus, a Georgetown University professor and consultant for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Jewish Relations Committee.

“A hundred years ago, it would have been laughable to have such a thing. Nobody would believe this. And five hundred years ago, we’d have been arrested.”

On Wednesday night, they were applauded, primarily for their presence but also for their forthright responses to questions about their differences.

Dr. Akif Aydin, a Muslim and president of the Atlantic Institute, which was founded “to bridge the deep gap of social interaction and “to promote respecting differences,” said he initiates dialogue with his neighbors so “they do not feel there is a terrorist that moved into the neighborhood.”

“I’m sorry that you should have to feel like you have to convince people that you’re not a threat,” said Rabbi Matthew Marko of Congregation Beth Israel, a conservative synagogue in Greenville.

His response drew a couple of amens from the audience.

“My hope is that we’ve learned that there’s a reconciliation model where we can come and go to each other without feeling anyone has the obligation,” said Rev. Ronald Smith of First Christian Church in Greenville.

Wednesday’s event was organized by St. Joseph’s English teacher Jennie Neighbors, who was inspired by “a very dark week” at the end of October.

Eleven people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh because they were Jewish. A white man killed two black people at a supermarket in Kentucky. A man killed two women at a yoga studio in Florida.

In addition, 15 bombs were found throughout the U.S. that had been planted against individuals and organizations because of their political affiliations.

“So in the space of a week,” Neighbors said, “we saw violent hate crimes against individuals because of religion, race, gender and politics.”

Neighbors attended a vigil organized by the Greenville Jewish Federation in remembrance of the Tree of Life victims, as well as those killed in the Kentucky supermarket.

“Speakers of various faiths came together publicly to recognize and support each other,” Neighbors said.

That led to Wednesday’s gathering, at which Father Sandy McDonald, pastor of St. John Neumann Parish in Columbia, served as moderator.

“It’s a great way for a school community to be exposed to both the differences and the fundamental unities of being human,” said McManus, the Georgetown professor.

“In the Christian tradition, the following of Jesus means everyone is my neighbor. There are no exceptions to that, despite what Christians have done over the centuries to create exceptions.”

Pastor Deb Richardson-Moore of Triune Mercy Center, a non-denominational mission church that ministers alongside the homeless in downtown Greenville, brought up the parable of the Good Samaritan and then recounted her early days of working with the homeless. She listened and provided groceries and anything else for which she could shop.

That was before she realized their real need was “freedom from alcohol or drug addiction” and “a change in mindset.”

“The true neighbor is one who is discerning about what is needed,” she said.

There remains a need in the area of overcoming obstacles. The group discussed racism, marriages between people of different religious backgrounds and the reasons for division.

Rabbi Marko said “a lack of pluralism in thought” causes separation.

“We’ve become us and them, right and wrong, winner, loser,” he said. “When I look at what we’re all talking about, really at the core of it, we’re all talking about the same stuff. We think we’re so different, but we’re not.”

That they could come together in the first place was noteworthy where St. Joseph’s student body president Davis Cooney was concerned.

“Just a couple hours earlier in the day,” said Cooney, “Father (Jonathan) Duncan celebrated Mass on the very stage that we’re having four different faith groups talk about their differences and their unity.”

Then he asked the group what provides them with hope for the future.

Richardson-Moore said she leads a congregation of about 280, but 66 churches and organizations of various beliefs come to assist them.

“Many of them would never have a woman in their pulpit,” she said, “but they believe that God told us to serve the poor, and so they come to Triune and do that.”

Marko recalled an incident just a few days after the Pittsburgh shooting, days when he was tending to the needs of others and “didn’t have time for myself to sort of have that moment.”

He was alone in his office when a family came to the door, parents with two children. Marko paused while collecting himself.

“They brought me a plant, a simple plant,” he said, still gripped by emotion, “and that was the first time since I heard the news that I had a shoulder that I could cry on. That one family with that one plant is hope.”

Just as one diverse group on one stage is hope.

National Merit Finalists Named

St. Joseph’s Catholic School is pleased to announce that seniors Anthony Cinquemani and Joshua Powers have been named National Merit Finalists. All Finalists are considered for National Merit Scholarship and approximately 7,500 Finalist from the group of more than 15,000 Finalists nationwide will be selected.  NMSC will begin mailing scholarship offers to winners in March. Congratulations on this tremendous achievement!

St. Joseph’s would also like to congratulate this year’s Commended Scholars, Luke Cunniffe and Liliana Jaraczewski.  These students placed among the top 50,000 of more than 1.6 million students who entered the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT).

Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball Head to State Playoffs

Both Boys & Girls Varsity basketball claimed victories in their region tiebreaker games, sending them to the State Playoffs. The Boys defeated Blacksburg 53-38, and the Girls defeated Southside Christian 43-40 in their rematch on Friday.

Below is the schedule for our 1st Round Basketball games. We hope you can get out and cheer on your Knights as they compete for their State Championships!

Girls Basketball 1st Round game:

Play at Saluda High School on Tuesday 2/12 at 6:00pm. The school address is 160 Ivory Key Road, Saluda, SC 29138. If we win, the girls will play on the road Friday evening 2/15.

Boys Basketball 1st Round game:

Play at Eau Claire High School on Wednesday 2/13 at 7:00pm. The school address is 4800 Monticello Road, Columbia, SC 29203. If we win, the boys will play on the road Saturday evening 2/16.

A Knight with the Legends, Saturday Feb. 9

Last Chance To Purchase Tickets

Saturday, February 9
JP II Center, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Purchase Tickets

Please join us for a very exciting and unique event, “A Knight with the Legends.” St. Joseph’s Catholic School will be hosting four Hall of Fame college football coaches as they share stories and experiences in a question and answer style forum. This will be the opportunity of a lifetime to hear from four football legends!

Mike Ayers • Willie Jeffries • Bobby Johnson • Jimmy Satterfield

Tickets are available, with all sales benefitting the Knights Football program. General Admission for the Speaker Panel is $20 per person, as well as a $50 Premium Ticket, which also includes dinner and a meet and greet with the coaches before the panel.

Speaker Panel will be from 6:00-8:00 PM, with the Premium Ticket events beginning at 4:30 PM.

For more information, please contact Head Football Coach Jon Wheeler.


Coach Mike Ayers, Wofford College: Concluded a 30-year head-coaching career at Wofford and a 44-year overall coaching career on Dec. 13, 2017. He finished with 218 career victories, which landed him 3rd All-Time in Southern Conference history. He led the Terriers to 10 playoff appearances and five Southern Conference Championships during his tenure. He was also the recipient of the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year in 2003 and named Southern Conference Coach of the Year five times. On March 28, 2018, Coach Ayers was inducted into the Southern Conference Hall of Fame.

Coach Willie Jeffries, South Carolina State University: Concluded a 29-year head-coaching career and a 34-year overall coaching career in 2001. He finished with 180 career victories and won three Black College National Championships and seven Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championships. In 1979, he became the first African American hired as a Head Football Coach at a Division 1 football program at Wichita State University. In 2010, Coach Jeffries was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. On May 5, 1988, the Governor of South Carolina Carroll Campbell presented Coach Jeffries with the Order of the Palmetto. This is the highest civilian honor in the state of South Carolina and is awarded to those citizens who make achievements of statewide impact. He was also awarded the companion honor of the Order of the Silver Crescent by Governor Jim Hodges on October 13, 2001. This is awarded to those who make community or professional accomplishments of local significance. Finally, on Dec. 6, 2018 Coach Jeffries was presented with the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) Contributions to College Football Award during the Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.

Coach Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt University and Furman University: Concluded a 16-year head-coaching career and a 34-year overall coaching career on July 14, 2010. He finished with 89 career victories. Coach Johnson led Furman to three playoff appearances and two Southern Conference Championships during his 8-year tenure. In 2001, he led the Paladins to the NCAA Division I-AA National Championship game. He was named AFCA National Coach of the Year in 2001 and named Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 1999, while at Furman. During his 8-year career at Vanderbilt University, Coach Johnson helped to build Vanderbilt to a competitive program in the Southeastern Conference. In 2008, he led Vanderbilt to its first Bowl game since 1982 and first Bowl victory since 1955. Also in 2008, he was named SEC Coach of the Year. In 2009, Coach Johnson was inducted to the Furman University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Coach Jimmy Satterfield, Furman University: Concluded an 8-year college head-coaching career at Furman and a 29-year overall coaching career in 2003. He finished with 66 career victories at Furman. Coach Satterfield led Furman to four playoff appearances and three Southern Conference Championships during his 8-year tenure. In 1988, he led the Paladins to win NCAA Division I-AA National Championship game. He was named AFCA National Coach of the Year in 1988 and named Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 1989. Coach Satterfield finished his coaching as the Head Coach at Lexington High School from 1996 to 2003. He finished with 74 career victories at Lexington and lost to Dorman in the 2000 State Championship game. In 2015, Coach Satterfield was inducted to the Furman University Athletic Hall of Fame.

SJCS Seniors Bynum and Thompson Sign to Play Division I College Ball

The Athletic Department is pleased to announce that seniors Luke Bynum and Kyra Thompson have committed to continuing their athletic careers in college at the winter signing day on February 6, 2019.

Bynum will be playing Division I football at Furman University, joining his teammate and classmate Jake Johanning who signed in the fall.  Thompson will be playing Division I Beach Volleyball for the College of Charleston. Congratulations to these student athletes on their success, and we look forward to following their careers!

American Leprosy Missions Visits Sixth Grade Academy

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

In the latest Sixth Grade Academy Altruism in Action event, the students welcomed Mr. Jim Oehrig from American Leprosy Missions to share about his work in Africa and India. The students have been studying the virtues of fortitude and perseverance. Mr. Oehrig’s visit not only brought these virtues to life in a powerful way, but also brought many Gospel stories about people suffering from leprosy to life as well. The children listened with rapt attention as Mr. Oehrig shared stories of hope and bringing not only medical treatment, but also bringing Christ’s love and treating people with dignity even though you may be afraid of their suffering or how they might look.

To help engage the student in some of the challenges a person with leprosy might face, the students competed to see who could unwrap a Hershey Kiss with oven mitts on, mimicking the lack of feeling in the hands.

In preparation for his visit, the students had collected loose change to help provide care for children and adults suffering from leprosy, and were able to present Mr. Oehrig with a very heavy sack of change totaling just over $1700! This amount, the students learned, could provide care and change the lives of at least four people suffering from this disease half a world away.