By Bob Castello

When it comes to 56 of the seniors at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, familiarity breeds a more comfortable setting. That’s how many of those graduating have been at the school for seven years.

“It’s not as nerve-racking,” said Elizabeth Harris, one of those who have attended St. Joe’s since the sixth grade.

“I feel like a lot of people come into high school, and they’re like, ‘I don’t know the school, I don’t know the people,’ but coming into high school with all the same people and in the same building, it really puts you at ease.

“It was pretty reassuring, just because you don’t have to make a whole new friend group when you come into high school,” Luke Bynum said.

“You can stay with the people you went to middle school with. Also, you kind of got an introduction to the teachers when you were in middle school. Moving into high school, you can further those bonds and make new ones with the high school teachers.”

Harris followed her sister to St. Joe’s.

“When I first came, I didn’t really know anybody because I came from a public school,” she said. “I made a lot of friends in my Household, and I’m actually still friends with a lot of them right now. I just took the AP Calculus exam, and all those people in my class, I’m really bonded to them because I’ve known them for seven years.”

“My friends and I who have been here since sixth grade, we talk about how we can’t believe we’ve known each other since we were 10 or 11 years old, and we’re such good friends when we’re 18 years old, and we’re going to continue to be friends,” said Helen Kopscik.

“Just having so much time to be able to build those friendships — not only with friends but with teachers — is huge, and it makes the experience at St. Joe’s that much better.”

“Being here since sixth grade, everyone changes,” Lee Eberly said. “You look back now at everyone who’s been for all seven years, and you see where everyone’s going to college and what they want to do with their lives. It’s really cool knowing them for such an extended period of time.

“I think a lot of the people who have been here for seven years have more of a special connection than people who came later on.”

It gives them a nucleus on which to build.

“It’s pretty cool to see the same faces, but it’s also cool to add the new ones to your friend group,” said Bynum.

“It’s crazy to think I’ve been here for seven whole years,” Kopscik said. “I can’t even imagine life not at St. Joe’s. It’s been such a huge part of me for so long, it’s almost like a part of me that’s going to be lost after I graduate.”

The following members of the Class of 2019 have attended SJCS since the sixth grade:

Andrew Armstrong
Jack Bailey
Madi Barrett
Annika Bissinger
Luke Bynum
Sarah Grace Calder
Veronica Carroll
Maria Clark
Davis Cooney
Robbie Cromley
Katie Culumovic
Luke Cumby
Luke Cunniffe
Caroline Curran
Lee Eberly
Natalia Freund
Antonio Gacha
Anna Scott Gardner
Leo Gibson
Elizabeth Harris
Kate Harrison
Brandon Hodge
Ava Keating
Jacob Kiser
Madison Koontz
Helen Kopscik
Lizzie Latham
Sophie Lee
Jack Lonergan
James Lovett
Mary Lynam
Jack Malo
Alex Malvern
Chase Marlar
Justin May
Ryan McLear
Jadin Nassif
Emma Nixon
Emerson Pace
Michael Anne Pace
Walker Pace
Zac Palmer
Abbie Panuccio
Weeks Poole
Matthew Ramsdell
Abbie Salerno
William Smith
Dillon Spikings
Phillip Stapleton
Connor Stein
Kyra Thompson
Katherine Uprichard
Megan Uprichard
Alex Walajtys
Maegan White
Conyers Wingard