The Year of Faith
"We rejoice because you have opened the door of faith for us."
On August 22, 2013, the school began its twentieth academic year. Throughout the year, the school commemorated the twenty year anniversary with several events designed to celebrate and give thanks to God and the generosity of many for two decades of service to the church and the greater Greenville community. Local architect and artist Dick Mitchell presented the school with a watercolor print of the campus entitled "St. Joseph's Catholic School, Celebrating 20 Years."
The school year began with 645 students, an increase of 33 students from the previous year's opening enrollment. The incoming freshmen class (Class of 2016) reached capacity (110 students) for the first time in the school's history.
One of the school's Founders, Margaret Ann Moon, tendered her resignation as Board Chair, effective September 17, 2012, ending nearly a twenty-year reign as the Head of the school's Board of Trustees.
FORMING THE MINDS
The school welcomed seven new faculty and staff members this year: Lynn Connelly, Joseph Dylong, Dana Kindelmann, T.J. Nielsen, Marla Palmer, Jennifer Patton, and Elaine Trakas.
In the fall, the Catholic High School Honor Roll announced its seventh selection of the Top 50 Catholic secondary schools in the U.S. and included St. Joseph's Catholic School once again in its list of America's Best. Since 2004, the Honor Roll has recognized excellence in Catholic identity, academics, and civic education at Catholic high schools across the United States, and SJCS has been recognized by the Catholic High School Honor Roll since its inception.
Five members of the Class of 2013 were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation out of a class of seventy-seven seniors; two were named National Merit Finalists, one was named a National Merit Semifinalist, and two were named National Merit Commended Students.
The school's SAT and ACT average scores once again surpassed the county, state, and national averages, with the Class of 2012 posting an average SAT score of 1854 and an average ACT score of 27. The local, state, and national averages for 2012 were as follows: 1455/SAT and 21.5/ACT (Greenville County), 1431/SAT and 19.9/ACT (State), and 1498/SAT and 21.1/ACT (National).
Students posted the highest pass rate in the history of the school on Advanced Placement (AP) exams taken in May 2012, scoring an 88% pass rate after completing challenging college-level courses at St. Joseph's. The state and national pass rates averaged 59% for 2012.
The school's first Literary Conference, titled The Word in the World, debuted in September as students, faculty, parents, and friends gathered to embrace SJCS students' engagement with the great authors of Western civilization.
The South Carolina Scholastic Press Association awarded the school's newly formed literary magazine Inscape with a "superior" rating, its second highest honor.
The school introduced the Student Academic Services Department this year, and among its many offerings were peer and adult tutoring sessions that ran throughout the school year.
The school's newly formed Junior Beta Club held its first candlelight induction ceremony in October. The club provides high achieving middle school students with a positive experience while recognizing and promoting academic achievement, encouraging service to others, and developing character and leadership skills.
In related news, one Beta Club member placed second in the state-wide Junior Beta Club T-shirt Design Competition held in January and the design will compete for national honors in June.
Thirty-six seventh graders, representing 42% of their class, qualified for participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). From this group, eight seventh graders qualified for State Recognition in Duke TIP 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.
Sixteen juniors applied for and were accepted into Clemson University's High School Biomedical Engineering program, allowing them to spend one afternoon each semester on the Greenville Hospital System campus gaining real-life experience in fields they are considering studying in college.
The Middle School Quiz Bowl Team finished second at the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Regional Competition held in February.
For the fourth consecutive year, students participated in Mini-Mester, a variety of active learning experiences designed to enrich and complement their academic curriculum in late February.
In addition to the school-sponsored St. Albert the Great Science Fair, middle school students entered and excelled in several other local science endeavors:
- Two eighth graders captured First Place (one in Physics and one in Engineering) in the junior division of the Greenville County and South Carolina Regional Science and Engineering Fair from amongst hundreds of projects representing both private and public middle schools in Greenville County.
- A seventh grader captured third place for his invention at the Bi-Lo Invention Convention from amongst more than 1,500 Greenville County students in grades 4-8.
The school's seventeenth Commencement Exercises were held on June 1, 2013. The Class of 2013, consisting of 77 members, was offered six million dollars in college scholarship and grant money. Sixty-eight members (88%) of the class received scholarship offers, including money from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education in the form of 15 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, 44 Life Scholarships, and 10 Hope Scholarships. In addition, twelve members of this class committed to continue their athletic careers in college.
FORMING THE HEARTS
St. Joseph's fielded thirty-six sports teams for the 2012-13 school year: Four middle school, thirteen junior varsity, and nineteen varsity teams. In the school's third year of competition in the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) at the 1A Level, the combined seasons produced five State Champions in Baseball, Girls Cross-Country, Boys Cross-Country, Boys Soccer, and Volleyball. In addition, the Varsity Golf Team was State Runner-Up.
The school was awarded the 1A Director's Cup by the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association for the 2012-13 school year. This honor is awarded to the school that demonstrates outstanding excellence in its overall athletic program.
A sophomore swimmer set a national record in the women's 50-yard freestyle at the YMCA Short Course Nationals held in April.
Three athletes were named SCHSL 1A State Players of the Year in baseball, girls swimming, and volleyball.
Six athletes were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Players of the Year in baseball, girls basketball, football, boys soccer, softball, and volleyball.
Five coaches were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Coach of the Year in baseball, girls cross-country, golf, boys soccer, and softball.
A new Press Box and Concessions Stand was built, donated, and dedicated in the fall to enhance fan participation in the school’s athletic program.
The football, softball, and track teams produced their best seasons to date by improving previous season records, winning first-ever region and district titles, going further in the state playoffs, and/or providing a significant amount of excitement for program supporters.
In its third year, the middle school intramural sports program continued to offer all students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to play sports and stay active, with flag football (boys) and volleyball (girls) in the fall, basketball (both boys and girls) in the winter, and soccer (both boys and girls) in the spring.
The Fine Arts Department summerstock production The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the fall play The Desk Set, the eighth grade play Headin' for the Hills, and the spring musical Annie Get Your Gun all met with great success and delighted audiences this year.
In addition, theatre students received honors, awards, and/or scholarships at the Palmetto Dramatics Association and South Carolina Thespian Festival and the Southeastern Theatre Conference.
The talents of the SJCS student body continued to shine through events such as student-run coffeehouses, Improv Night, and Jubilate Knight, the annual Fine Arts Department fundraiser devoted to showcasing talent throughout the St. Joseph's community.
In addition to delighting viewers with their entries in the Fall Art Exhibit and Spring Art Show, visual art students also entered the Greenville Technical College High School Art Show, the largest high school art exhibition in the Upstate. A junior captured First Place in the Color and Design Category from amongst 175 entries representing 20 schools. This same student also won Honorable Mention in the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Junior Fashion Competition.
In addition to the two annual concert performances of the school's strings, band, and chorus ensembles, the newly formed High School A Capella Chorus performed a year-end concert of sacred music at St. Mary's Catholic Church in May. Other musical accolades included:
- Four band students were awarded highest honors at the South Carolina Band Director's Association (SCBDA) Solo and Ensemble Festival held in April.
- Four high school musicians auditioned and were selected to participate in the 2013 All-State Orchestra.
- Two high school violinists performed at Carnegie Hall in March.
Ten members of the school's chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) won trophies at the District One Leadership Conference, the school's best FBLA showing to date.
High school students received the Premiere Delegation recognition at the annual Youth In Government Conference, an accomplishment awarded to SJCS for the past eleven years.
The Middle School Model United Nations program was fully implemented into the school curriculum for the first time, allowing middle school students the opportunity to gain global knowledge as well as leadership skills.
The Middle School Chess Team took home First Place honors for the second consecutive year in both the State Scholastic Chess Championship and the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Chess Championship. The High School Chess Team was SCISA State Runner-Up.
The school's National Honor Society hosted a breakfast featuring Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, who spoke to the crowd about experiences and lessons learned as a professional football player, as well as the foundation he established to assist first-generation students seeking post-secondary education in South Carolina.
FORMING THE SOULS
More than 170 students, parents, faculty, and alumni participated in the Advancement Office's annual "Come Back to Give Back" Service Day held in August to ready the campus for the start of the school year.
Ninth grade students were actively engaged in the school's Freshman Connection program through a summer class trip, weekly lunch and activity periods, and other events designed to acclimate ninth graders to the academic, social, and spiritual aspects of high school life at St. Joseph's.
The annual Welcome Back Family Social, the Parents' Dessert and Orientation Night, Grandparent's Day, the Household Mom Program, Ladies Knight Out, and the annual end-of-year Deo Gratias celebration were just some of the events that continued to encourage family participation in the life of the school.
Student Council and the International Thespian Society sponsored their annual joint food drive competition during Spirit Week and the Fall Play. The competition, held between grades this year, brought in almost 1,500 items to benefit the St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry.
Class retreats and reflection services, led by the school's Peer Ministry Team, helped to bring each student to a deeper level of Christian commitment. New this year, Peer Ministry members led the school community in the weekly recitation of the rosary held each Thursday after school.
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.
Students and staff participated in a multitude of pro-life activities again this year. During October's Respect Life month, students, parents, and staff joined thousands of supporters nationwide as they stood as witnesses for the unborn in the annual nationwide Life Chain. A small group of students and staff also attended the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. in January.
The school's gymnasium was transformed into a "Secret Garden" for the annual Knight to Believe Auction Gala. The event involved hundreds of hours and volunteers, including parents, students and staff, and raised a record amount in support of the school's tuition assistance program.
A middle school Theology teacher completed the Rite of Candidacy in the process of becoming an ordained Deacon within the Diocese of Charleston.
A high school teacher organized a "hair donation party" to benefit cancer patients, with over twenty-five 6-12 grade girls donating at least six inches of their hair for wigs.
A new middle school organization called the "Love of Giving" Club was formed this year. The club, which provides books, blankets, and stuffed animals to children in the hospital, was awarded a large donation from Kohl's Department Store and hundreds of hardback storybooks and stuffed animals were packaged, wrapped, and delivered to Children's and Shriner's Hospitals.
GS, a friendship of St. Joseph's teachers and students who follow the charism of the international Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation, sponsored a number of activities this year, including an overnight camping trip in a national park, a vacation to Lake Tahoe, and regular visits to nursing home residents.
The Advancement Office and the Alumni Board joined forces in once again sponsoring several events designed to help keep alumni connected to the school, including but not limited to, the annual Knights Challenge 5K and Family Fun Run, the college "Care Package" initiative, the annual Homecoming Tailgate, Christmas gathering, and summer Greenville Drive Night.
The SJCS Advancement Office hosted a series of Business Professional Advisory Breakfasts during the school year, inviting parents with ties to the business community to help spread the word about SJCS. The event resulted in a corporate partnering brochure, a new Parent/Business Directory, the addition of the new service-learning class, and the re-introduction of Career Day.
In thanksgiving for ministering to the St. Joseph's community throughout the year, the school donated a monstrance to Father Pat Tuttle for use in the many ministries associated with his parish, St. Anthony of Padua.
The school's Parents Guild, Athletic Booster Club (The Knights Circle), Fine Arts Guild (The Jubilate Guild), and Grandparent Organization (St. Anne's Society) continued their efforts to promote and foster support for the school's mission, the academic, spiritual, and moral growth of its students, and the work of its faculty, by providing outstanding assistance and service in the daily life of the school.