"Let us go up with joy to the house of the Lord."
The 2013-2014 school year began with 669 students (264 middle school and 405 high school). This reflected an increase of 24 students from the previous year's opening enrollment.
FORMING THE MINDS
The school welcomed sixteen new faculty and staff members this year: Paul Barra, Anna Blaso, Erica Britenburg Deidre Cooper, Mary Cummings, Brantley Goforth, Steven Jones, Gabe Lewis, Marjorie Malphrus, Rod McClendon, Rick Morris, Heather Najmabadi, Jennie Neighbors, Debbie Quinones, Lisa Shapiro, and Melody Thompson.
SJCS earned accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), an accreditation division of AdvancED. Recognized across state lines, the SACS CASI accreditation assures parents that the school is meeting nationally accepted standards for quality and successful professional practice.
The Class of 2014, consisting of 103 members, set a new school record for college merit scholarships, earning just under ten million dollars. Ninety-nine members (96%) of the class received scholarship offers, with an average award package per student of just over $98,000. Of those ninety-nine students, ninety-three (90% of the class) received a South Carolina state scholarship award: 18 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, 63 Life Scholarships, and 12 Hope Scholarships.
Five members of the Class of 2014 were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation: two were named National Merit Finalists, one was named National Achievement Finalist, and three were named National Merit Commended Students.
In fall 2013, St. Joseph's SAT and ACT averages again surpassed the county, state, and national averages, with the SJCS Class of 2013 posting an average SAT score of 1771 and an average ACT score of 26.2. The local, state, and national averages for 2013 were as follows: Greenville County (1462/SAT and 21.8/ACT), South Carolina (1436/SAT and 20.1/ACT), and National (1474/SAT and 20.9/ACT).
Forty-three seventh graders, representing 49% of their class, qualified for participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). From this group, nine students qualified for State Recognition by scoring at or above the national average of high school juniors and seniors on at least one part of the SAT or ACT college entrance tests.
In fall 2013, the College Guidance Office reported that St. Joseph's students scored an 87% pass rate on Advanced Placement (AP) exams completed in spring 2013. The state pass rate was reported at 58% and the national pass rate was 59%.
The SJCS Middle School Quiz Bowl Team placed first in the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Regional Competition held in March, sweeping all three games played.
A senior, acting as a Youth in Government (YIG) attorney, successfully argued his case against the Youth Attorney General before the Supreme Court at this year's YIG Conference held in November at the Columbia State House. The SJCS senior was chosen for the Constitutional Bill Challenge from over one hundred attorneys representing all schools in attendance. In addition, the St. Joseph's YIG moderator received the Outstanding Advisor Award for 2013 from all advisors in attendance.
For the second consecutive year, selected juniors applied and were accepted into Clemson University's High School Biomedical Engineering program. During second semester, these students traveled to Clemson University's Biomedical Engineering department one afternoon each week, where they were charged with designing a biomedical device to address a medical challenge in need of a better solution.
An eighth grader captured First Place in Physics and fourth overall in the junior division (Grades 6-8) of the Greenville County and South Carolina Regional Science and Engineering Fair from amongst hundreds of students representing both public and private middle schools in Greenville County. In addition, two seventh graders placed second and third, respectively, at the Duke Energy Invention Convention from amongst a field of 1,600 inventors representing forty schools.
A sixth grade student qualified to compete in the National History Bee finals as a result of his performance in the regional competition.
For the first time, the SJCS English Department, along with the National English Honor Society, sent a delegation to the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) State Literary Meet in February, and a SJCS student placed fourth in the state in Girls Oral Interpretation/Comedy.
The third edition of the school's literary magazine, Inscape, was mailed out to SJCS supporters for the first time and featured a first-ever school-wide poetry contest, with over 50 poems submitted for judging.
The student voice of St. Joseph's, The Knightly News, underwent significant changes this school year, including but not limited to: a new faculty moderator; the addition of an independent study class; a new format and distribution schedule; and, new columns and feature articles.
During Spring Break, a group of SJCS students and teachers traveled to England for a trip steeped in literary and religious significance.
FORMING THE HEARTS
For the second consecutive year, SJCS was awarded the 1A Director's Cup by the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association. This honor is awarded to schools that demonstrate outstanding excellence in their overall athletic program.
Twenty members of the Class of 2014, representing 19% of the class, committed to continue their athletic careers at the university level, setting a new school record for college bound student-athletes.
St. Joseph's fielded thirty-nine sports teams for the 2013-14 school year: four middle school, thirteen junior varsity, and twenty-two varsity teams. In the school's fourth year of competition in the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) at the 1A Level, the combined seasons produced five State Champions: Boys Baseball, Girls Cross-Country, Boys Cross-Country, Boys Soccer, and Girls Volleyball. In addition, the Varsity Golf Team, the Varsity Girls Basketball Team, and the Girls Track Team were named State Runners-Up.
Varsity girls and boys lacrosse teams were introduced in spring 2014. In addition, football, boys basketball, and girls track produced their best seasons to date by improving previous season records and going further in the state playoffs, all while providing a high level of excitement for program supporters.
SJCS athletes and coaches received many of the South Carolina High School League's (SCHSL) highest awards: two athletes were named SCHSL 1A State Players of the Year (football and volleyball); five athletes were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Players of the Year (baseball, girls basketball, boys soccer, softball, and volleyball); and seven coaches were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Coaches of the Year (baseball, boys and girls basketball, girls and boys cross-country, boys soccer, and softball).
Several SJCS athletes competed and/or were recognized at the national level:
- A state champion and Scholastic All-American junior swimmer bested her own national record set at the YMCA Short Course Nationals. In addition, she was chosen to attend both the 2013 National Select Camp and the USA Swimming Olympic Training Center.
- A ninth-grader earned All-American honors in being named to the PrepVolleyball.com 2013 Frosh 59, a list of the best varsity-playing freshmen volleyball players in the country.
- A senior soccer player was selected as one of the Top 150 national soccer recruits for the Class of 2014 as ranked by Top Drawer Soccer.
- Two sophomores competed in two national taekwondo sparring tournaments held at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center.
- A freshman qualified to compete at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Nationals.
The Fine Arts Department summerstock production Greek Mythology Olympiaganza, the fall play You Can't Take It With You, the eighth grade play The Princess Who Had No Name, and the spring musical Fiddler on the Roof, all met with great success this year. In addition, the talents of the SJCS student body continued to shine in all of the Fine Arts Department performing arts initiatives, including student-run coffeehouses, Improv Knight, and Jubilate Knight. Finally, theatre students received numerous honors, awards, and/or scholarships at the Palmetto Dramatics Association and South Carolina Thespian Festival and the Southeastern Theatre Conference.
In addition to sharing their artistic talents with the SJCS community at the school's annual Fall Art Exhibit and Spring Art Show, visual art students also placed entries outside the school community at the following venues: Greenville Technical College High School Art Show; the South Carolina Art Education Association Youth Art Month Exhibit; and, the 2014 Congressional Art Competition.
- A senior placed first in the Western Division's high school portion of the Youth Art Month showcase, a representation of 100 pieces of artwork submitted from over 25 schools across the Upstate.
- Two high school students captured third place in drawing and photography at the Greenville Tech Art Exhibit, the largest high school art exhibition in the Upstate representing 162 entries and nineteen schools.
Music students, featuring the school's strings, band, and choral ensembles, delighted audiences with superb performances at the two annual school concerts. Other music notables included:
- Three students auditioned for and were accepted into the 2013 Western Region Orchestra, competing against string orchestra students from across the Upstate.
- A freshman placed first in the classical vocal category at the state National Association of Teachers of Singers competition held at USC School of Music, thus qualifying for the regional competition.
- A senior violinist auditioned for and was selected to participate in the 2014 All-State Orchestra.
- A junior won a spot in the Region One Band Clinic and Concert.
With the help of a matching gift, the Junior Beta Club raised close to $8,000 in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and were presented with a plaque for their efforts at a special school assembly.
Ten members of the SJCS chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) qualified to advance to the state level following the District Conference.
The Middle School Chess Club tied for the State Championship in the annual South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) State Chess Tournament, with SJCS receiving the second place trophy by virtue of a computer-designated tie-breaker. In the individual competition, a sixth grader took home the first place trophy.
FORMING THE SOULS
Introduced during the 2012-13 school year, the "Shield Strong" motto, encouraging students and supporters to put on the armor of Christ, took flight this school year as it appeared on t-shirts, billboards, etc. The first Shield Strong Week was initiated in the fall, and students verbalized what it meant to be "Shield Strong" over the PA system each day following afternoon announcements.
"Spirit Fridays," a celebratory expression of school pride and solidarity, was introduced to the school community this year. The school dress code was altered on Fridays for students, faculty, and staff as a means of boosting excitement and support for SJCS teams, clubs, and initiatives.
A Student and Academic Life Team (SALT) was put into place in response to the need for a regular dialogue between students and administrators on the topic of school life and culture. Student leaders from various campus clubs met regularly with administrators to discuss and plan school initiatives.
Members of the Class of 2014 embarked on the school's first senior mission trip in late May. The group partnered with Homeworks of America in completing repairs on a home in Charleston.
The school's gymnasium was transformed into "MidKnight in Paris" for A Knight to Believe Auction Gala. Parents, students, and staff donated hundreds of hours in raising money and as a result, set a new school record in support of the school's commitment to providing tuition assistance to qualified students and families.
National Art Honor Society students volunteered their time in completing three projects during the year: 1) a five-year school spirit project adding spirit stripes, the school shield, decal, and logos to the school hallways and driveway; 2) a senior-led three-year project designing and painting multiple murals at Greenville's Shriners Hospital for Children; and, 3) a five-panel painting for Catholic Charities representing the areas in which they lend aid.
Several new clubs and initiatives were introduced and expanded this year in an effort to bring students to a deeper level of Christian commitment. The Stop Hunger Now Club sponsored fundraisers as well as a meal packaging event in an effort to fight global hunger. Both high school girls and boys participated in young women's and men's discipleship groups, and five high school boys participated in a Diocesan Discernment Retreat in Columbia hosted by the Diocese of Charleston Vocations Office. The school's Campus Ministry Team spearheaded successful class retreats and reflection services, and sponsored several community and pro-life outreach events, with more than 50 students traveling to Washington D.C. for the National March for Life event.
Student Council planned and carried out several activities designed to promote school spirit while raising funds for charity. The annual back-to-school dance included a charitable theme in support of local thrift shops. During Spirit Week, high school students enjoyed slip-and-slide and color war events to benefit the St. Clare's Home of Joyful Hope, a home for unwed mothers inspired by St. Joseph's graduate Claire Capelle ('12).
The SJCS Student Life Office joined forces with Greenville's Year of Altruism in bringing guest speaker and Holocaust educator Trude Heller to campus in November, along with many other speakers throughout the year, including religious representatives from Priests for Life and Aquinas College.
Four seniors traveled to New York City in March as Youth Ambassadors to the 58th annual United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women. The seniors acted as witnesses and spoke on issues representing a Catholic world view.
For the first time, the annual St. Joseph's Grandparents Day event was expanded to Grandparents Weekend, and close to 200 grandparents and friends of the school enjoyed St. Joseph's eighth annual celebration, featuring Mass, brunch, assembly, an evening reception, and several campus events.
In celebration of Catholic Schools Week, the first annual "Black, White, and Brown" day was held in honor of the many priests who serve the SJCS community. Students wore black, white, and/or brown in thanksgiving for the many religious figures who serve the school, and four Upstate priests con-celebrated the all-school Mass. In addition, the school welcomed 21 non-Catholic clergy from the greater Greenville area for a luncheon that week in honor of their ministry to St. Joseph's families.
The school's "Advent to Ascension" Capital Campaign to build a new chapel resulted in several student and staff-led initiatives. The school community prayed a student-written prayer each weekday for the success of this project. The Middle School Council club and moderator sponsored separate student and staff "Trash to Treasure" events in an effort to assist with fundraising.
Year-round Household, club, and honor society service projects culminated in the "St. Joseph the Worker" Feast Day celebration in early May, in which students and staff performed community service work throughout the greater Greenville area.