History of the School

A BRIEF HISTORY

A forty-year dream for a Catholic High School in the Upstate became a reality when, in 1993, the works and prayers of many individuals, united by the desire to improve the choices for secondary education in the area, culminated in the opening of St. Joseph’s High School in Greenville.

The school’s beginnings, or what those close to the school often refer to as “The Miracle”, began with a group of nine lay founders: Louis Beck, Mary Cotter, Janelle Malone, Barbara McGrath, John McGrath, Nancy McGrath, Tom McPartland, Margaret Ann Moon, and Bradley Van Name. Armed with a single donation of $800, these founders set out on a massive mailing campaign to “get the word out” that after many years of planning and discussions, the school was finally going to open.

On August 26, 1993, classes began at St. Joseph’s High School for thirteen ninth grade students in a small house leased to the school for one dollar by St. Michael’s Lutheran Church on Augusta Road.

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS:

A Conversation with SJCS Founding Board Chair Margaret Ann Moon (August 17, 2012)

Part 1:

Part 2:

2014-2015

I pray that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you,
that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.

The 2014-15 school year began with 678 students (259 middle school and 419 high school students).

FORMING THE MINDS

The school welcomed the following new staff members this year: Sidney Ann Fowler (Annual Fund Manager), Heather Malone-Grippe (Late Stay Assistant), Rachael Mantelli (Strings), Phyllis Stanton (Middle School English and History), Jenny Starks (Admissions Associate), James Swingle (High School and Middle School History), and Father Jeremy Von Wodecki (School Chaplain).

In the fall of 2014, SJCS distributed Google Chromebooks to all eighth grade students and significantly increased the school’s computer access for all students through the use of school-issued email accounts, laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks. In addition, St. Joseph’s became a “Google Apps for Education” school, giving both students and teachers access to all Google Apps.

The Cardinal Newman Society included St. Joseph’s Catholic School on its Fall 2014 list of schools recognized nationally by the Catholic Education Honor Roll as Schools of Excellence (formerly the Top 50 Award). Since 2004, the Honor Roll has celebrated quality Catholic education throughout the United States, and all schools named to the list share a common trait in providing a truly integrated and faithful Catholic education across all disciplines and in all areas of student activities.

The College Counseling Office added a second counselor to assist students and families in the college search and application process. As a result, juniors and seniors were able to receive increased individual assistance in addition to expanding group services and individualized course scheduling conferences for freshmen and sophomores.

In the fall of 2014, St. Joseph’s SAT and ACT averages again surpassed the county, state, and national averages, with the SJCS Class of 2014 posting an average SAT score of 1765 and an average ACT score of 26.4. The local, state, and national averages for 2014 were as follows: Greenville County (1467/SAT and 22/ACT), South Carolina (1429/SAT and 20.4/ACT), and National (1471/SAT and 21/ACT).

Also in Fall 2014, the College Guidance Office reported that St. Joseph’s students scored an 85% 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%.

In order to ensure a student’s success at SJCS and beyond, academic support services were expanded this year to include several new initiatives under the umbrella of the St. John Bosco Achievement Center. In addition to the support offered to students in the long-standing St. Thomas Aquinas Program, the center also included the Knights Success Program and Freshmen Focus, providing support to those students who require assistance with organization, time management, note-taking/test-taking strategies, and other academic needs.

Several high school students participated in the LemonADE Stand pilot program, a three-day workshop for students to design and develop new business ideas, held at the Anderson Arts Center in October.

The High School Academic Team captured Second Place at the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Regional Quiz Bowl Tournament held in October.

A senior captured first in the state for High School Humorous Oral Interpretation at the SCISA State Literary Meet held in October.

The SJCS Middle School Quiz Bowl Team won the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Regional Competition in February, and went on to win the SCISA State Championship held in March.

Two SJCS seventh grade students captured first and second place in the seventh grade category at the Duke Energy Invention Convention held in March at the TD Convention Center.

One eighth grade student captured first place in the Computer/Math Science category in the junior division (Grades 6-8) of the SCISA State Science Fair held in April at the Sumter County Civic Center.

Middle and high school students excelled at the annual Youth in Government (YIG) Conference held in November at the State House. In addition to the many awards conferred on SJCS students, an eighth grader received the Servant Leader Award, a new middle school award given to students who exemplify servant leadership. Both the high school and the middle school delegations received Premiere Delegation recognition, an accomplishment the high school group has received for the past thirteen years.

Thirty-six seventh graders, representing 42% of their class, qualified for participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). From this group, ten St. Joseph’s seventh grade students qualified for TIP State Recognition and one qualified for Grand Recognition by meeting qualifying score criteria on the SAT or ACT college entrance tests.

The fourth edition of the school’s literary magazine, Inscape, was mailed to SJCS supporters, and for the first time this year, middle school as well as high school students were invited to submit their best work for the cover design and poetry contests, resulting in the most entries to date.

Twelve members of the Class of 2015 were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation: Five were named National Merit Finalists, two were named National Achievement Finalists, one was named National Achievement Semi-Finalist, and four were named National Merit Commended Students.

The Class of 2015, consisting of 94 members, set a new school record for college scholarships, earning just under $12 million, with an average award package of over $137,000 per student.

FORMING THE HEARTS

In the school’s fifth year of competition in the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) at the 1A Level, the combined seasons produced three State Champions: Girls Cross-Country (fifth consecutive state title), Boys Soccer (fourth consecutive state title), and Girls Volleyball (fourth consecutive state title). In addition, the Varsity Boys Golf Team and the Girls Track Team were both named State Runners-Up.

In honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, the Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, named a St. Joseph’s senior as its 2014-15 Gatorade South Carolina Volleyball Player of the Year, the first Gatorade South Carolina Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from SJCS. This award, which distinguished this athlete as the state’s best high school volleyball player, recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character.

During the 2014-15 school year, SJCS athletes and coaches received many of the SCHSL highest awards: one athlete was named SCHSL Class A State Player of the Year (volleyball); eight athletes were named SCHSL Region II-A Players of the Year (baseball, boys soccer, girls cross country, softball, swimming and volleyball); and seven coaches were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Coaches of the Year (boys basketball, girls and boys cross-country, boys soccer, softball, swimming and volleyball).

Girls Softball and Girls Soccer improved their previous season records and went further in the state playoffs than ever before.

A junior wrestler was named County Champion in his weight class, the school’s first SCHSL county wrestling champ.

A senior swimmer, along with members of her freestyle relay team, set a world record at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships held in Hawaii over Labor Day weekend.

A senior was named a 2014 PrepVolleyball.com National High School Senior of the Year finalist. In addition, a sophomore was named to the 2014 PrepVolleyball.com Soph 79, a list of the best sophomore volleyball players in the country, and one of only two players from the state to receive this honor.

A senior athlete capped 1,000 points in her high school basketball career in December.

The High School Chess Team placed first in the SCISA State High School Chess Tournament held in November. The Middle School Chess Team placed second in the SCISA Middle School Chess Tournament held in April.

A sophomore was selected to serve as a staff advisor to the City of Greenville Youth Commission. Appointed by City Council, Youth Commission members serve as the voice of youth in Greenville and give feedback and input on various projects and plans.

High school photography and yearbook students were selected by Upstate International to photograph many of their events happening around town during their month-long celebration in March, photographing everything from a traditional Afghanistan cooking class to Irish dancing. The students were also invited to Michelin, an Upstate International sponsor, to photograph the kickoff celebration event.

TRADE (Teens Rising Against Drugs Everyday), the new name of the group of St. Joseph’s juniors and seniors working and training with Greenville Family Partnership, were responsible for several initiatives this year designed to inform students about the effects of substance abuse and to help prevent common teen issues from becoming problems.

The Fine Arts Department summerstock production All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, the fall play Shakespeare in Hollywood, the eighth grade play The Fearsome Pirate Frank, and the spring musical, Big Fish, 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 & South Carolina Thespian Festival and the Southeastern Theatre Conference.

The Fine Arts Department, featuring the school’s strings, band, choral, and dance ensembles, delighted audiences with superb performances at the two annual school concerts. Most notably, the High School Choir presented Godspell, a musical based on the Gospel of Matthew, in January and performed a concert of sacred music in May, both on the St. Mary’s Catholic Church campus.

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 Greenville Technical College High School Art Show, the largest high school art exhibition in the Upstate.

The St. Joseph’s community celebrated “Jan Carino Day” in mid-May to honor long-time Athletic Director Jan Carino and her seventeen years of service to the school. Following a series of remarks highlighting her accomplishments, Carino was named the inaugural inductee into the newly established Athletic Hall of Fame.

FORMING THE SOULS

Father Jeremy von Wodecki began his duties this year as the new School Chaplain, making the sacraments available to students and faculty on a regular basis and serving as a spiritual guide to all members of the community who sought his counsel.

The Student and Academic Life Team (SALT), having been established during the previous school year, was active again this year as student leaders from various campus clubs met regularly with administrators to discuss and plan school initiatives.

The seventh annual Knights Challenge 5K and One-Mile Family Fun Run, held each year at the start of Spirit Week in October, drew a record crowd from throughout the Upstate to benefit the Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center.

Towards the end of Spirit Week, the Class of 2015 was invited on a private tour of the chapel construction project. The seniors were encouraged to sign the old block walls with short messages about themselves and their class, and a time capsule was filled with items relevant to their day and their class. Although the walls were covered, the markings remained intact, to be rediscovered, along with the time capsule, during future renovations.

In late October, more than 240 supporters came out for the first annual SJCS Board of Trustees and Donor Appreciation Tailgate. Participants, representing faculty, staff, past and present Board of Trustee members, Founder’s Circle Members, and Founder’s Level Red Door Donors, enjoyed food and fellowship.

Several new clubs were formed this year in an effort to bring students to a deeper level of Christian commitment. The St. Cecilia Vocations Club provided middle school girls with a forum to hear about different vocations and to allow them to grow closer to Christ, especially through prayer. The St. Maximilian Kolbe Vocations Club provided middle school boys with a forum to grow more fully in their relationship with Christ by exploring their own vocations, providing the personal witness of different vocations and directed prayer time. A new peer-to-peer mentoring program called Girl Talk allowed high school girls the opportunity to serve as positive role models for middle school girls, meeting once a week during lunch to discuss issues and problems that girls face in their day-to-day lives.

In a new twist on school retreats, the SJCS Campus Ministry Team spearheaded the first student-parent class retreats for both the sophomore class and the seventh grade class. The events included both team building activities for parents and students together as well as separate time for talks and reflection. Both events, held on Sundays, included the celebration of Mass and dinners together.

Seven high school students were recognized in early December for their work as founding members of the Peer-2-Peer Program sponsored by the Department of Juvenile Justice. This program, which began last year, provides Greenville County students on probation for truancy the opportunity to give, gain, and grow through bi-monthly meetings with SJCS students. Together, they discuss topics such as goal setting, handling academic pressure, communicating with teachers, forming study habits, as well as completing a college visit.

The school’s gymnasium was themed “Frozen” for this year’s annual Auction Gala. Highlights from the evening included the involvement of many St. Joseph’s students and a record amount of money being raised in support of the school’s commitment to providing tuition assistance to qualified families.

SJCS kicked off Catholic Schools Week in late January with the blessing of the newly renovated St. John Paul II Center, which was dedicated to the memory of one of the school’s founders, Margaret Ann Moon. Bishop Guglielmone was on hand to celebrate the opening Mass and to bless and dedicate the center. In addition to the entire SJCS community and several of the Upstate clergy, over 100 supporters and benefactors were present to witness the transformation of the former chapel into a beautiful space dedicated to worship and other school events.

At the close of this year’s Catholic Schools Week celebration, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) speaker Thomas Awiapo visited St. Joseph’s and recounted his inspiring story of survival and success to the student body. His story and joyful presence inspired the entire school community for months to follow.

In keeping with the Pope’s teaching of asking the faithful to immerse themselves in the lives of others from all walks of life while seeking the goal of a just, responsive, and inclusive society, St. Joseph’s established the SJCS Pope Francis Forum for Diversity and Dialogue this year. The forum sought to improve the school community’s awareness of the desires, problems, and needs of others while learning how to engage in respectful, honest dialogue with others of varying backgrounds and beliefs.

Households, clubs, and honor societies performed a multitude of service projects this school year. Highlights included, but were not limited to: support of the Greenville Parkinson Society (High School Student Council); Project Hope Foundation (GS Club); Make A Wish Foundation (Junior Beta Club); International Memory Project (Visual Arts); Shriner’s Hospital (Fine Arts Department); Birthright of Greenville, St. Anthony’s Catholic School, and Homeworks of America (Households); Book Drives (English and Social Studies Honor Societies); Food Drives (International Thespians), and Bake Sales (Middle School Council). This service work culminated in the “St. Joseph the Worker” Feast Day celebration in early May, an annual event in which students and staff perform community service work throughout the greater Greenville area.

Members of the Class of 2015 embarked on the school’s second annual senior mission trip in late May, partnering with Homeworks of America to complete repairs on a home in Charleston.

A member of the Class of 2015 was accepted and is planning to attend seminary in the fall.

2013-2014

“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.

2012-2013

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.

2011-2012

I have called you friends.

The school year began with 612 students (257 middle school and 355 high school), an increase of 18 students from the previous year’s opening enrollment.

FORMING THE MINDS

Summer construction resulted in the addition of a new Fine Arts classroom floor, a new middle school classroom second floor, and a new first floor kitchen, meeting room, and middle school science lab, completing the first phase of the Red Door Capital Campaign.

The school welcomed seven new faculty and staff members this year: Jean Crosby (Middle School Science), Shawna Fesler (Middle School English), Robert Lee (Music), Chuck Milteer (High School History), Christopher Ortiz (High School Religion and Spanish), Ron Thompson (Advancement), and Tyler Vanhook (Middle School History).

Twelve members of the Class of 2012 were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation out of a class of seventy-one seniors; ten were named National Merit Finalists, ranking them in the top one percent of the nation’s high school students, and two were named National Merit Commended Students.

St. Joseph’s was presented the “School of Honor” Award by South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Executive Director Larry Watt. In a special school-wide assembly, Watt honored the school’s achievement of having twelve National Merit honorees.

In related news, the school was also presented with the “Volunteer of the Year” Award by Watt, honoring the school’s spirit of volunteerism for hosting several regional competitions during the previous school year. Additionally, SJCS staff members were instrumental in promoting SCISA state-wide student activities.

The school’s SAT and ACT average scores once again surpassed the county, state, and national averages, with the Class of 2011 posting an average SAT score of 1824 and an average ACT score of 27. The local, state, and national averages for 2011 were as follows: 1453/SAT and 20.9/ACT (Greenville County), 1427/SAT and 19.9/ACT (State), and 1483/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 2011, scoring an 86% pass rate after completing challenging college-level courses at St. Joseph’s. The state and national pass rates were reported at 60% for 2011.

The High School Academic Team captured First Place in the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Regional Quiz Bowl Tournament in November.

Two seniors placed first in the Challenge Bowl (Novice Division) at the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science Fall Workshop held in the fall.

In addition to their annual participation in the “St. Albert the Great” Middle School Science Day, the Bi-Lo Invention Convention, and the Greenville County and South Carolina Regional Science and Engineering Fair, students were involved in several new initiatives showcasing the work of the school’s Science Department:

  • High school students participated in the Greenville Hospital System (GHS) Medical Explorers program and were also able to view a knee anatomy lab run by Village Orthopedics;
  • Several seniors attended the “Role Models in Medicine” program at USC School of Medicine, participating in hands-on sessions and practicing techniques in various medical procedures;
  • Freshmen attended the “Body Worlds” exhibit in Columbia, viewing more that 200 real human specimens and the position of organs under different conditions to better understand the long-term impact of diseases;
  • The school hosted several science guest speakers during the year. The Science National Honor Society hosted the GHS MedEX Program Director, who spoke about the process for beginning a medical school at GHS. Middle School science teachers hosted a NASA astronaut who had logged more than 198 days in space, including two spacewalks, and the former President of Marine Spill Response Corporation, who spoke to classes about the oil industry and recent oil spills.

For the third year, high school students were offered a variety of active learning experiences in early March known as “Mini-Mester.” Designed to enrich and complement their academic curriculum, each course reflected an interest, hobby, or passion of a SJCS staff member. New programs offered this year included white water rafting, sailing Lake Hartwell, hang-gliding in the Outer Banks, and spending the night at the Charleston Aquarium and Riverbanks Zoo. Middle school students participated in a one-day Mini-Mester with new offerings that included photojournalism, horseback riding, outdoor navigation, and an overnight trip to the Great Wolf Lodge.

Seven SJCS seventh graders qualified for State Recognition in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (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.

Fourteen SJCS students advanced to the state level in the National History Day Contest by winning a regional competition in March. From this event, seven students qualified to present at the national level against winners from forty-nine other states.

Several students placed in the Top Ten in both state and national competitions on the National French, Latin, and Spanish Exams.

The English Department’s introduction of the school’s first literary magazine, Inscape, featured the literary and artistic talents of St. Joseph’s students and faculty and captured a SCISA Honorable Mention award.

The Class of 2012, consisting of 71 members, was offered college scholarship and grant money in excess of seven million dollars. Sixty-eight members (96%) of the class received scholarship offers, including 18 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, 41 Life Scholarships, and 9 Hope Scholarships.

FORMING THE HEARTS

St. Joseph’s fielded thirty-six sports teams for the 2011-2012 school year: Four middle school, thirteen junior varsity, and nineteen varsity teams. In the school’s second year of competition in the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) at the 1A Level, the combined seasons produced the greatest athletic showing in the history of the school: Five State Championship Teams (Boys Baseball, Girls Cross-Country, Boys Golf, Boys Soccer, and Girls Volleyball) and three Upper State Runner-Up Teams (Girls Soccer, Boys Tennis, and Girls Tennis). In addition, a seventh grader was named Runner-Up at the State Middle School Wrestling Tournament.

In year two, the Varsity Football Team closed the gap between its young program and some of the Upstate’s most established and successful football programs by earning a first-ever trip to the state playoffs. In addition, two athletes were named to the All-County Football Team.

The Varsity Track and Field Team, a new offering in the spring sports lineup, produced a strong showing at the Region Meet, with several students qualifying for State.

Three members of the Class of 2012 committed to continue their athletic careers in college.

Three athletes were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Players of the Year in baseball, boys soccer, and volleyball, and two athletes were named SCHSL State 1A Players of the Year in baseball and volleyball.

Five coaches were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Coaches of the Year in baseball, girls basketball, girls cross-country, boys soccer, and volleyball.

The Varsity Baseball Team played a Friday night “showcase” game at Fluor Field, home to Greenville’s minor league baseball team, the Greenville Drive.

In its second 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’s fall play An Ideal Husband, the eighth grade play The Aliens Are Coming! The Aliens Are Coming!, the one-act play Our Diamond, and the spring musical Hello, Dolly all met with great success and delighted audiences this year.

In addition to their annual showcase events, including student-run coffeehouses and Jubilate Knight for the Arts, an evening devoted to showcasing talent throughout the SJCS community, the Fine Arts Department sponsored two new events this year: An adult painting class titled Desserts & Designs and a student-run Improv Night.

International Thespian Society students received honors, awards, and scholarships at the Palmetto Dramatics Association and South Carolina Thespian Festival held in February.

In addition to sponsoring the annual Fall Art Exhibit and Spring Art Show held on campus, members of the National Art Honor Society embarked on a school spirit project by painting the high school hallways this year.

Art students participated in the South Carolina Art Education Association “Youth Art Month” Exhibit and the Greenville Technical College High School Art Show, the largest high school art exhibition in the Upstate. Several SJCS students were named winners in each event, and one Youth Art Month Exhibit regional winner was named a state-wide winner.

In addition to the two annual concert performances by the school’s strings, band, and chorus ensembles, the annual Christmas Concert “Oh Holy Knight” featured first-time performances by the high school’s Modern Dance Class and the newly formed Middle School Chorus.

Three senior vocalists were named to the 2011-2012 South Carolina Music Educators Association (SCMEA) All-State Chorus from among 1,900 students who auditioned throughout the state.

A senior vocalist captured First Place in the “Sing for Scholarship” vocal competition sponsored by Greenville in Harmony, a chapter of the Sweet Adelines International.

A sophomore violinist was selected to participate in the 2012 All-State Orchestra, competing against sixty-five contestants throughout the state.

Nine members of the school’s chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) won trophies at the District Leadership Conference held in February and qualified to compete at the state level. From this event, five members went on to win trophies at the State Leadership Conference held in March.

The Middle School Chess Team captured First Place in the annual SCISA State Chess Championship and First Place in the second annual Greenville Scholastic Open (K-8th Grade Division), both held in October. The team also captured First Place in the State Scholastic Chess Championship held in February. Both middle school and high school chess players captured top spots in the Fourth Annual Upstate Catholic School Chess Tournament held in April.

FORMING THE SOULS

“Freshman Connection,” a year-long program designed to introduce and acclimate ninth graders to the academic, social, and spiritual aspects of high school life at St. Joseph’s, got a jump start on the school year with a summer class trip to St. Augustine, FL in early August. The parent-led “Sophomore Search” and “Junior Journey” programs continued to offer high school students an opportunity to socialize and connect as a class with outings and activities throughout the year.

More than 120 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.

Nearly 400 grandparents, grandchildren, and friends of the school enjoyed the school’s annual Grandparents and Friends Day Celebration held in September. Sponsored by the St. Anne’s Society, the Parents Guild, and the Advancement Office, the festivities included brunch, a choral performance, student-led campus tours, and Mass.

In addition to Grandparents Day, the annual Welcome Back Family Social, the Parents’ Dessert/Orientation Night, Lunch and Learn, the Household Mom Program, Ladies Knight Out, and the annual end-of-year Deo Gratias celebration continued to encourage family participation in the life of the school.

Students and staff participated in a multitude of pro-life activities again this year. During October’s Respect Life month, more than 100 students, parents, and staff joined thousands of supporters nationwide as they stood as witnesses for the unborn in the annual nationwide Life Chain. A group of forty-five students and chaperones attended the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. in January.

The annual Alumni Board Knights Challenge 5K and Family Fun Run, held in conjunction with Homecoming weekend, attracted more than twice as many participants as the previous year with 130 runners and walkers, including students, alumni, faculty, parents, and community friends.

The “Trick or Treat so Kids Can Eat” Food Drive netted 3,643 pounds of food, more than double the amount collected the previous year. This annual contest, sponsored by the school’s International Thespian Honor Society and Student Council, benefitted St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Food Bank and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish Pantry.

Household and Retreat programs continued to support the worship and service life of the school. Class retreats, led by the student-led Campus Ministry Team, helped to bring each student to a deeper level of Christian commitment.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas served as the inspiration for this year’s Knight Before Christmas Gala, the school’s largest fundraiser of the year. Students enjoyed the gymnasium’s transformation into “Whoville” on Gala Spirit Day, and new this year, a “Girls Knight Out” featuring refreshments and a showing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas was well attended by SJCS moms, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, and friends. More than 400 adults enjoyed the Gala the following evening. All proceeds from this event benefitted the school’s tuition assistance fund, enabling qualified students the opportunity to attend St. Joseph’s regardless of their financial situation.

The SJCS chapter of the National Honor Society sponsored the “Colors for a Cause” Fashion Show in late January to kick off the weeklong celebration of Catholic Schools Week. Over $10,000 was raised from this fundraiser, and proceeds benefitted the local Children’s Cancer Center and the school’s scholarship fund.

Under the Catholic Schools Week 2012 theme of “Faith, Academics, Service,” the high school Student Council organized a week-long school-wide Coin War to benefit the Mano Amigo Catholic School in El Salvador. Over $1,500 was raised from this competition alone, and over $2,600 was raised from various other events throughout the week.

Two high school Boy Scouts received the highest Catholic award in scouting from Bishop Robert Guglielmone at the annual state-wide Catholic Scout Convocation Ceremony held in February.

“Alive at 25,” a teen automobile survival course developed by the National Safety Council, was introduced to the high school student body by Student Council, and several students took advantage of afternoon sessions designed to educate and inform young drivers.

The Middle School Council sponsored a number of social events, both on and off campus, including roller skating and a “Retro Night in Hollywood,” to allow middle school students the chance to socialize and enjoy each other’s company outside of school.

Close to 350 boys and their fathers enjoyed an evening of food and fellowship at a Father-Son event held at the school in March. Gerry Faust, former football coach at Cincinnati’s Moeller Catholic High School and head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, spoke to the crowd on his experiences, life lessons, and the important role that fathers and sons play in each other’s lives.

The Headmaster’s Office, in conjunction with the Guidance Office, hosted a series of Senior Seminars during the school year. Business executives, alumni, and others spoke to the senior class on how to effectively transition into college and the business world.

The Advancement Office introduced a series of Business Professional Advisory Breakfasts, allowing parents with ties to the business community the opportunity to discuss ways to help each other and to spread the word about the 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.

The school’s Parents Guild, Athletic Booster Club (The Knights Circle), Fine Arts Guild (The Jubilate Guild), and St. Joseph’s 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.

2010-2011

Christ is Risen! Believe It. Live It. Share It.

The school year began with 594 students (247 middle school and 347 high school)…a growth of 48 students from the previous year’s enrollment.

ACADEMIC

St. Joseph’s welcomed six new faculty and staff members this year: Dr. Jill Kriegel (English Department), Barbara Ogilbee (English Department), James Sternberg, (Science Department), Gina Turcotte (Advancement Office), Karah Viola (College Guidance), and Stacey Zaniewski (Fine Arts Department).

The school community welcomed Bishop Robert Guglielmone to campus for the opening Red Door Ceremony and the Opening School Mass in August. The Bishop returned to celebrate with the Class of 2011 at the May Commencement Ceremony.

St. Joseph’s teachers partnered with other Upstate Catholic schools in a new writing program to make writing a priority. All SJCS faculty, excluding math and fine arts teachers, attended a two-day writing workshop at the start of the school year that introduced them to the Excellence In Writing program and they incorporated many aspects of this program into their curriculum throughout the year.

A new outdoor classroom at the base of the Founders Oak tree was dedicated in September. Six benches were purchased, with more seating and a podium to be added later. A group of philanthropic school leaders formed an organization called the Founders Society in 1998, and the Founders Oak was planted and dedicated at that time to honor the generosity demonstrated by these benefactors.

The National Catholic High School Honor Roll announced its sixth selection of the Top Fifty Catholic Secondary Schools in the United States, and included St. Joseph’s once again in its list of America’s Best. Designed to recognize and encourage excellence in Catholic secondary education, the Catholic High School Honor Roll has recognized SJCS since the Honor Roll’s inception in 2004. The school maintained a billboard for several months on the I-85 corridor to celebrate this award.

Seven members of the Class of 2011 were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation: four were named National Merit Finalists, one was named a National Merit Commended Student, another was named a National Achievement Semi-Finalist, and one was named a National Achievement Scholarship Winner.

The school’s SAT and ACT average scores once again surpassed the county, state, and national averages, with the Class of 2010 posting an average SAT score of 1831 and an average ACT score of 27.4. The local, state, and national averages for 2010 were as follows: 1469/SAT and 21.4/ACT (Greenville County), 1443/SAT and 19.7/ACT (State), and 1497/SAT and 21/ACT (National).

Students posted the highest pass rate in the history of the school on Advanced Placement (AP) exams taken in May 2010, scoring an 85% pass rate after completing college-level courses at St. Joseph’s. The local, state, and national pass rates for 2010 were 56% (county), 55% (state), and 56% (national).

An eighth grader placed first at the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Middle School State Math Meet held in October, having the highest individual score from among 170 competitors.

The High School Academic Team captured first place at the SCISA State Quiz Bowl Tournament held in November.

In an effort to allow parents to work more closely with faculty in ensuring student success, SJCS’s administration opened the “parent portal” section of the school’s new software system, providing parents with online access to their children’s grades in “real-time.”

The High School Math Team placed second in the SCISA State Math Meet held in January from among 32 teams representing 19 schools and 160 students.

The Middle School Quiz Bowl Team finished as the state runner-up at the SCISA Quiz Bowl Competition held in February. The team was unbeaten in the semi-final round, and lost only one game in the championship round.

Two juniors received Honorable Mention in the Bill of Rights Essay Contest. This marks the first time the school placed in this national scholarship contest, with only sixty-three Honorable Mention winners selected nation-wide from 24,000 essays submitted.

For the second year, high school students were offered a variety of active learning experiences in early March known as “Mini-Mester” courses. Designed to enrich and complement their academic curriculum, each course reflected an interest, hobby, or passion of a SJCS staff member. This year’s offerings included several new additions, including but not limited to woodworking, learning to live a healthy lifestyle, making t-shirt quilts, preparing authentic French cuisine, and hiking the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Fourteen Latin students competed at the South Carolina Junior Classical League Spring Forum in March against nine other schools, both public and private, with many achieving first place finishes in a variety of categories.

Twelve seventh grade students qualified for State Recognition in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (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.

One junior, competing against students from North and South Carolina, qualified for the National Chemistry Olympiad in April.

Four freshmen qualified to compete in the National History Day Contest in June against winners from forty-nine other states.

Several students placed in the Top Ten in both state and national competitions on the National Spanish and National French Exams.

The Class of 2011, consisting of 76 members, was offered college scholarship and grant money in excess of $6 million dollars. Sixty-nine members (91%) of the class received scholarship offers, including 64 members who were awarded money from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education in the form of 14 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, 46 Life Scholarships, and 4 Hope Scholarships.

CO-CURRICULAR

St. Joseph’s fielded thirty-three sports teams during 2010-2011: three middle school teams, thirteen junior varsity teams, and seventeen varsity teams. In the school’s first year of competition in the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) at the 1A Level, the combined seasons produced: one State Champion (Girls Cross-Country), one State Runner-Up (Varsity Girls Basketball), and four Upper State Runners-Up (Varsity Boys Soccer, Varsity Boys Tennis, Varsity Girls Tennis, and Varsity Girls Volleyball). Varsity Boys Golf finished third in the State, and Varsity Boys Swimming finished third in a combined 1A-2A-3A State Meet. Varsity Boys Baseball, Varsity Boys Basketball, Varsity Girls Soccer, and Varsity Girls Softball all advanced to the State Playoffs as well.

Eight seniors committed to continue their athletic careers in college, with five committing to NCAA Division One schools.

The Varsity Football Team made its debut this year, finishing their season with the school’s first shutout game and sending their first senior football class off victoriously. This past fall brought a new experience and new life to the campus on Friday nights, with home football games under the lights in a new stadium, capturing the attention of the student body and the greater Greenville community.

One senior reached his basketball career 1,000 point mark in January in just under two seasons at St. Joseph’s. A junior transfer student, this individual amassed over 1,700 points in his four-year high school career.

Two athletes were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Players of the Year in Varsity Boys Basketball and Varsity Girls Tennis.

Two coaches were named SCHSL Region Two 1A Coaches of the Year in Varsity Girls Basketball and Girls Cross-Country. The Girls Cross-Country Coach was also named 1A Girls Coach of the Year by the South Carolina Track and Cross Country Coaches Association and Female Coach of the Year by the High School Sports Report.

The Fine Arts Department summerstock performance of The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood, the fall play A Murder is Announced, the eighth grade play Romeo and Winifred, the one-act play The Lottery, and the spring musical Beauty and the Beast all met with great success and delighted audiences this year.

The Band Ensemble completed its inaugural year and performed at several athletic events.

International Thespian Society students received honors and accolades at the Palmetto Dramatics Association and South Carolina Thespian Festival held in February.

Two juniors were selected to the 2010-2011 South Carolina Music Educators Association (SCMEA) All-State Chorus. Approximately 1,800 students from ninety high schools throughout the state participated in the auditions.

One junior placed first overall in the advanced piano division at the South Carolina Federation of Music Clubs Northwestern District I Festival competition held in the spring.

In addition to their annual Christmas and Spring Choral Concerts, the St. Joseph’s Knights Chorus was the featured opening act at The University of Notre Dame Glee Club Concert held in March. The Notre Dame Glee Club’s performance was part of their 2011 Spring Tour Concert Series. The Knights Chorus was also invited to perform at Artisphere, a three-day city-wide arts festival held in downtown Greenville in May.

A junior was awarded First Place in the 3D/Sculpture category at the Greenville Technical College High School Art Show.

One senior received the highest honor at this year’s YMCA’s annual Youth in Government (YIG) Conference held in November. This award is given in recognition of servant leadership through YIG and four years of high school.

Five students received first place honors in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) District I Leadership Conference held in January. One student went on to capture first place at the FBLA State Conference in March, and subsequently placed eighth at the national competition in June.

One seventh grader captured second place for his invention at the Bi-Lo Invention Convention held in March. Over 1,500 Greenville County students in grades 4-8 participated in this annual event.

The Middle School Chess Team captured first place in the K-8 Division at the Greenville Scholastic Open Chess Tournament held in the fall. Two students captured first place at the SC State Scholastic Chess Tournament held in March.

MISSION & MINISTRY

The SJCS Advancement Office and Alumni Board initiated the school’s first “Come Back to Give Back” Alumni Service Day in August to help ready the campus for the start of the school year.

To help ensure the successful transition to high school for the largest freshmen class in the school’s history, St. Joseph’s introduced a new experience for ninth graders called Freshman Connection. This year-long program was designed to introduce and 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/Orientation Night, the Middle School Fall Fest, the Household Mom Program, Grandparents Day, and the annual end-of-year Deo Gratias Celebration were just a few of the activities designed to welcome and encourage family participation in the life of the school.

The school chaplain led students and staff in a multitude of pro-life activities again this year. During October’s Respect Life month, approximately 100 students, parents, and staff joined thousands of supporters nationwide as they stood as witnesses for the unborn in the annual nationwide Life Chain. In school, students and faculty joined in the Rosaries for Life Campaign, which aimed to pray tens of thousands of rosaries for the defense of the unborn. Fifty St. Joseph’s community members represented the school in Columbia, SC in January at the South Carolina Citizens for Life Rally.

Twenty-nine juniors participated in the school’s second annual Kairos retreat held off campus in November. Kairos, a word meaning “God’s time”, is a three-day student-led experience totally devoted to God.

For the first time, students were invited to become a part of the school’s annual Knight Before Christmas Gala with a special preview party designed just for them. During “Gala Spirit Day,” students were able to wear SJCS spirit wear and were treated to a “Candy Bar” featuring tables filled with candies, cookies, and hot chocolate generously donated by parents, faculty, staff, and community partners.

More than 430 patrons discovered the school’s gymnasium magically transformed into a modern-day “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in December for the school’s annual Knight Before Christmas Gala. An accomplished graduate returned to campus to articulate the blessings received from a SJCS education and to help raise scholarship/tuition assistance money.

As part of a service initiative for Catholic Schools Week, the high school Student Council organized a week-long school-wide food drive to benefit two local food banks. Households competed against one another, and amassed over 10,000 boxes and cans of food, the most ever collected from a school-wide food drive.

The school hosted the Vatican International Exhibition of the Eucharistic Miracles of the World in April with an extensive collection of photographs and historical descriptions of the principal Eucharistic Miracles that have taken place throughout the ages in various countries of the world, all of which have been recognized by the Church.

One of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal visited campus in April for the school’s annual Lenten Day of Reflection.

Household and Retreat programs continued to support the worship and service life of the school. Class retreats, led by the school chaplain in conjunction with the Campus Ministry Team, helped to bring each student to a deeper level of Christian commitment. Year-round Household service projects culminated in the “St. Joseph the Worker” Feast Day celebration in late April, in which students and staff performed community service work throughout the greater Greenville area.

The school’s Parents Guild, the Athletic Booster Club (The Knights Circle), the Fine Arts Guild (The Jubilate Guild), and St. Joseph’s Grandparent Organization (St. Anne’s Society) continued their efforts to promote and foster support for the 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.

Fifteen high school students, along with the school chaplain and several chaperones, traveled to El Salvador in early June on the school’s annual summer mission trip. The team enjoyed work and recreational time within the CIDECO village, a Catholic housing, education, and employment project serving the poor.

2009-2010

In Communion we discover Christ

The school year began with 546 students as the school community welcomed Bishop Robert Guglielmone to campus for the celebration of the Opening School Mass in late August.

ACADEMIC

Six seniors out of a class of 63 students were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Two were named National Merit Finalists, ranking them in the top 1% of the nation’s high school students and four were named Commended Students, ranking them among the top 5%.

The school’s SAT and ACT average scores once again surpassed the county, state, and national averages, with the Class of 2009 posting an average SAT score of 1801 and an average ACT score of 27. The local, state, and national averages for 2009 were as follows: 1479/SAT and 21.4/ACT (Greenville County), 1452/SAT and 19.7/ACT (South Carolina), and 1509/SAT and 21.1/ACT (U.S.A.).

St. Joseph’s students scored an 80% pass rate on Advanced Placement (AP) exams completed in Spring 2009. The local, state, and national pass rates for 2009 were as follows: 57% (Greenville County), 57% (South Carolina), and 59% (U.S.A.).

Fifty seventh graders, representing 60% of their class, qualified for participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). Ten of these seventh graders went on to qualify for State Recognition by scoring above the national average on at least one part of the SAT or ACT college entrance tests and one seventh grader qualified for Grand Recognition.

The High School Academic Team captured First Place at the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Regional Quiz Bowl Tournament in November.

Ten SJCS students, representing French, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish languages, competed in the annual Clemson Declamation Contest held in November, posting first place finishes in French II, French III, and Latin IV.

The High School Math Team placed first in the SCISA State Math Meet held in January.

The Middle School Quiz Bowl Team won the SCISA Regional Competition and finished as the state runner-up at the SCISA State Competition held in February.

SJCS science students swept all seventh grade award categories at the Bi-Lo Invention Convention held in March. In addition, the school’s Science Department Chair won the “Bi-Lo Legacy” award and the school’s Headmaster was presented with the award for “Principal with the Highest Percentage.”

Several eighth grade students were awarded prizes and recognition in the Junior Division (grades 6-8) of the Greenville County and South Carolina Regional Science and Engineering Fair held in March.

A new active learning experience was introduced to students in March called Mini-Mester, in which high school students were offered a variety of week-long activities borne out of various interests, hobbies, or passions of SJCS faculty and staff members.

Fourteen seniors out of a class of 63 students were named Palmetto Fellows.

Two SJCS seniors were among a group of 68 South Carolina high school seniors identified as candidates for the 2010 Presidential Scholars Program by the U.S. Department of Education.

A junior qualified for the semifinals in the USA Biology Olympiad competition, placing her in the top ten percent of more than 6,000 test-takers nationwide.

A junior tied for the highest grade on the American Chemical Society (ACS) High School Chemistry Exam administered to students in the Western Carolinas Section, which includes Greenville County, along with other South Carolina and North Carolina counties.

A seventh grader was named the South Carolina winner for the SHADE Foundation of America 2010 Poster Contest and went on to compete in the national contest.

An eighth grader, named the regional winner in the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest, went on to compete in the state competition.

A seventh grader, named a state winner in the Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest, went on to compete in the national competition.

The SJCS chapter of the RHO KAPPA History Honor Society was formed this year in recognition of achievement and excellence in the discipline of high school social studies.

SJCS joined more than 500 other schools around the world in signing Student Signatures in Space® posters in May. St. Joseph’s was one of only three schools in the state selected to participate in this program.

Three sophomores qualified as National Finalists for the National History Day Contest held at the University of Maryland in June.

The school’s fourteenth Commencement Exercises, held on May 29, 2010, highlighted the accomplishments of the Class of 2010. This class, consisting of 63 members, was offered college scholarship and grant money in excess of $4 million dollars. Fifty-three members (84%) of the class received scholarship offers, including 52 members who were awarded money from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education: 14 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, 33 Life Scholarships, and 5 Hope Scholarships. Six members of the class were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, with two out of the six named National Merit Finalists. Also, three members of this class were awarded athletic scholarships. The Class of 2010 was also distinguished by the addition of several new colleges and universities to the ever-growing list of schools to which the previous 466 graduates were accepted, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, Holy Cross College, Kansas State University, Syracuse University, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and the University of San Diego. This also marks the fifth consecutive year that a St. Joseph’s graduate was awarded a Furman University Hollingsworth Scholarship, one of only 13 awarded statewide this year.

CO-CURRICULAR

St. Joseph’s fielded 34 sports teams during the 2009-2010 school year: eight middle school teams, ten junior varsity teams, and sixteen varsity teams. Within the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) AAA League, the combined seasons produced four state champions: Boys Cross- Country, Girls Cross-Country, Boys Swimming, and Girls Swimming. Varsity Girls Volleyball, Varsity Boys Basketball, Varsity Boys Golf, Varsity Boys Tennis, Varsity Girls Soccer, and Varsity Girls Softball all advanced to the state playoffs. Middle School Girls Volleyball, Middle School Boys Basketball, Middle School Girls Basketball, Middle School Boys Soccer, and Middle School Girls Soccer were all crowned Conference Champions.

Twenty-three athletes received the SCISA Scholar-Athlete Award by earning a 3.5 GPA and lettering in two varsity sports. In addition, 26 athletes were named to the SCISA All-State teams in their various sports.

Four athletes were named SCISA “Players of the Year” in Boys and Girls Swimming and Boys and Girls Cross-Country.

The Varsity Boys Basketball Coach was named Region Coach of the Year and three coaches were named SCISA “Coaches of the Year” in Boys Cross-Country, Girls Cross-Country, and Swimming.

Several athletic “firsts” were celebrated this school year:

  • History was made in October 2009 as the Knights celebrated their first football homecoming in the school’s seventeen-year history.
  • The Varsity Girls Cross-Country Team claimed the school’s first Greenville County title in October 2009, beating out a three-time defending champion and local 4A public school.
  • Under new leadership, the Varsity Boys Basketball Team ended their season with the school’s best-ever record (19-9), the school’s first region title, and the school’s first state quarter-final appearance.
  • SJCS was officially accepted into the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL). Ending a long-standing athletic competition within SCISA, the Knights will now compete in the SCHSL Region II-1A level beginning in the 2010-2011 school year.

The school’s theatre program produced four full-length productions and two student-directed one-act plays, which received several honors at South Carolina theatre festivals.

An Advanced Chorus was formed this year to provide an opportunity for advanced choral students to prepare more challenging music at concerts and for the weekly school Mass.

Two middle school students were accepted into the 2010 All-State Orchestra.

One student captured First Place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) state competition.

A new dance honor society, the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, was established in the spring, inducting twelve new members.

The Christmas and Spring Choral Concerts, with notable performances by the Beginner and Intermediate Strings Ensembles and Middle and High School Choruses, delighted audiences again this year.

Students were treated to a surprise visit and workshop in February from members of the touring production of Wicked.

One student was named the Eighth Grade Middle School Champion at the South Carolina Chess Association 2010 Scholastic Championships held in March in Columbia.

The St. Joseph’s chapter of the National Honor Society was named the “National Honor Society of the Year” for the third consecutive year at the annual SCISA Student Convention held in March.

An eighth grade violinist was invited to play as a guest soloist with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra in their March concert held at Anderson University.

International Thespian Society students received honors and accolades at the Palmetto Dramatics Association and South Carolina Thespian Festival held in the spring.

In the District One competition at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference held in March, one freshman placed first in the Networking Concepts category and one senior also placed first in the Personal Finance category.

Two National Art Honor Society members completed a year-long French mural painting, measuring eight feet wide by nine feet high, in the French classroom on campus.

A sophomore Student Council member was elected First Vice-President of the 2010-2011 SCISA Student Government from a field of eight SCISA school candidates from across the state.

MISSION & MINISTRY

The annual Welcome Back Family Social, the Parents’ Dessert/Orientation Night, the Middle School Fall Fest, the Household Mom Program, Grandparents Day, and the annual end-of-year Deo Gratias Celebration were just a few of the successful activities designed to welcome and encourage family participation in the life of the school.

The school chaplain led students and staff in a multitude of pro-life activities throughout the year, including Respect Life month in October and a trip to the annual March for Life in Washington, DC in January.

Twenty-seven high school juniors participated in the school’s first Kairos Retreat held off-campus in October. Kairos, a word meaning “God’s time,” is a three-day student-led experience totally devoted to God.

Two ninth grade students received an outpouring of support from SJCS classmates, staff, and families as they underwent successful cancer treatments throughout the year.

Nearly 400 parents, faculty, staff, friends, and benefactors turned out in December for the school’s annual Knight Before Christmas Gala, resulting in a record amount of money raised for tuition assistance.

Students and staff celebrated the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent with a number of activities including, but not limited to, food, clothing, and toy drives, service work, the recitation of the Rosary during lunch periods, and Eucharistic Adoration.

St. Joseph’s celebrated Catholic Schools Week in January with a variety of events highlighting the blessings of Catholic education. Under the National Catholic Educational Association 2010 theme, “Catholic Schools…Dividends for Life,” area Catholic schools united to record public service announcements that aired on radio stations throughout the week. In addition, the Diocese of Charleston launched a state-wide billboard campaign.

Household Homecoming, the start of a new tradition where freshmen return to their middle school households for a time to enjoy food and fellowship with their former middle school household members, was introduced this year.

Father Dwight introduced the first school-wide mission in March. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal were on campus for individual and group sessions with all the students.

The first school-sponsored ladies night out, Sip into Spring, was held in March featuring interactive displays on art, cooking, fashion and flower arranging.

The school’s Parents Guild, the Athletic Booster Club (The Knights Circle), the Fine Arts Guild (The Jubilate Guild), and grandparent organization (St. Anne’s Society) continued their efforts to promote and foster support for the 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.

Household and Retreat programs continued to support the worship and service life of the school. Class retreats, led by the school chaplain in conjunction with the Campus Ministry Team, helped to bring each student to a deeper level of Christian commitment. Year-round Household service projects culminated in the “St. Joseph the Worker” Feast Day celebration in late April, in which students and staff performed community service work throughout the greater Greenville area.

Seventeen high school students, along with the school chaplain, spent a week in El Salvador in June 2010 as part of the school’s annual summer mission trip working in the CIDECO village, a Catholic housing, education, and employment project serving the poor.

2008-2009

In Christ we live, move, and have our being.

During the summer of 2008, the campus expanded yet again with the addition of two middle school classrooms, a music room, locker and weight rooms, an athletic office, and a fully-equipped football field. The school year began with 539 students.

ACADEMIC

The National Catholic High School Honor Roll’s fifth annual selection once again named SJCS as one of the 50 best Catholic secondary schools in America. Since the Honor Roll’s inception in 2004, the school has been recognized as a “Top 50” school four out of the past five years. The Honor Roll format will now change to an every-other-year award system with the next announcement in Fall 2010.

St. Joseph’s students scored a 77% pass rate on Advanced Placement (AP) Exams taken in Spring 2008, compared to a state passage rate of 56%.

Forty-five seventh graders, representing 52% of their class, qualified for participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). These seventh graders scored in the top five percentile in the verbal, math, or composite sections on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) which they completed in sixth grade. Nine of these seventh graders went on to qualify for State Recognition by scoring above the national average on at least one part of the college entrance SAT or ACT tests.

The school’s SAT and ACT average scores again surpassed the county, state, and national averages in Fall 2008, with the Class of 2008 posting an 1800 average SAT score and a 25 average ACT score.

New technology was introduced again this year to include clickers from e-Instructions Classroom Performance System for middle school science classes, allowing teachers to quickly review difficult material as well as better engaging students in the material.

The High School Academic Team placed second at the SCISA (South Carolina Independent School Association) Regional Quiz Bowl Tournament in November.

The Headmaster was honored with the SCISA Dr. Charles Aimar Educational Leadership Award.

The Mathematics Department hosted a semester-long investment class, which met weekly after school, covering the importance of saving and investing, the function of stock markets, and more.

The High School Math Team placed second in the SCISA State Math Meet held in January.

The Middle School Quiz Bowl Team won the SCISA Regional Competition in February. A NASA scientist addressed the student body in February and discussed his work on the concept, development, and operations of new infrared instrumentation for both ground and space astronomy.

An eighth grader captured First Place from over 150 middle school entries in the Junior Division (Grades 6-8) of the Greenville County and South Carolina Regional Science and Engineering Fair held in March.

Several students placed in the Top Ten in both state and national competition on the National Spanish and National French Exams.

Six ninth graders qualified as National Finalists for the National History Day Contest held in Washington, DC.

A High School English Teacher was named SCISA High School Teacher of the Year, and a Middle School Science Teacher was named a SCISA Middle School Teacher of the Year Finalist.

The Class of 2009, consisting of 56 members, was awarded college scholarship and grant money in excess of $3 million dollars. Forty-five members (80%) of the class received scholarship money, including 39 members who were awarded money from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education: 8 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, 28 Life Scholarships, and 3 Hope Scholarships. Seven members of the class were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Organization. And four members of this class, the most from any previous SJCS graduating class to date, were awarded athletic scholarships. The Class of 2009 was also distinguished by the addition of 17 new colleges and universities to the ever-growing list of schools to which the previous 410 graduates were accepted and seven graduates continued their Catholic education at Catholic universities. This also marked the fourth year in a row that a St. Joseph’s graduate was awarded a Furman University Hollingsworth Scholarship, one of only 20 awarded statewide.

CO-CURRICULAR

The Athletic Department sponsored ten sports camps in Summer 2008, with over 200 students, ages 8-18, participating in baseball, basketball, cheerleading, soccer, tennis, volleyball, football, and wrestling camps.

St. Joseph’s fielded thirty-four sports teams for the 2008-2009 school year: nine middle school teams, nine junior varsity teams, and sixteen varsity teams. Within the SCISA AAA League, the combined seasons produced four state champions: Boys Cross Country, Girls Cross Country, Boys Swimming, and Girls Swimming. Varsity Girls Volleyball, Varsity Girls Basketball, Varsity Boys Basketball, Varsity Girls Soccer, Varsity Boys Soccer, Varsity Girls Softball, and Varsity Boys Tennis all advanced to the state playoffs. JV Boys Tennis went undefeated in regular season play. Middle School Girls Volleyball, Middle School Boys Golf, Middle School Girls Soccer, and Middle School Boys Soccer were all crowned Conference Champs.

The Jubilate Guild funded a summer trip for several Fine Arts students to the International Thespian Festival held in Omaha, NE in June 2008.

The Fine Arts Department presented its summer stock production of Neil Simon’s Fools in August, its first-ever Shakespearean production, Much Ado About Nothing, in November, and the spring musical, The Music Man, in April; all three debuted to great acclaim and played to several nights of sold-out performances.

The JV Football Team debuted in Fall 2008. Comprised of forty-six boys from the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades, the team proved to be most competitive and showed measurable growth from week to week. Highlights included the home opener on September 25th against Liberty and a first win on October 2nd over West Oak. The Knights ended their first season 2-3.

The first annual Knights Challenge, an inaugural 5K/Family Fun Run sponsored by the Advancement Office, was held during Homecoming festivities.

Over thirty students participated in the two new after-school string orchestra classes offered for both middle and high school students. In addition, the Fine Arts Department formed a Mens Ensemble, featuring a barbershop quartet.

The History Department, in conjunction with the Fine Arts/Music Department, hosted a Veterans Day Ceremony in November, featuring speakers and visitors who had answered the call of duty.

The Fine Arts Department offered several opportunities for students. The Warehouse Theatre’s Educational Outreach Program visited campus as part of a classroom artist residency program. Students were invited to a warm-up session featuring members of the award-winning production of A Chorus Line. The Southern Wesleyan University Jazz Band performed a mix of Big Band, Blues, Jazz, and Rock for the student body.

Changes were introduced in the school’s basketball and baseball programs. New coaching staffs were charged with building successful programs from the ground up and developing successful students, both on and off the field of play.

A senior captured First Place in the High School Division at the SCISA Open Chess Tournament.

As a part of an artist-in-residency program, the Art Department sponsored touring artwork from five famous artists, displayed for a week at a time in the high school Commons.

A seventh grader captured First Place in the Seventh Grade Photography Category at the SCISA Art and Photography Show. This same student also captured First Place in the South Carolina State Parks 75th Anniversary Photo Contest.

Three new clubs began this year. The Aviation Club explored various aviation-related topics, including flight training, airport operations, and aviation-related careers; a Middle School Girls Running Club met after school twice each week for fun and recreation; and a Women’s Leadership Club was formed for high school girls.

A full house was on hand for the school’s Christmas Choral Concert in December, as well as for the Spring Choral Concert in May, with notable performances by the school’s Beginner and Intermediate Strings Ensembles, as well as the Middle School and High School Choruses.

The inaugural Eighth Grade Play, Keeper of the Tales, premiered in January.

Two seniors captured First and Second Place in the Business Law Competition at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) District One Conference.

Three Fine Arts students were recommended to compete in performance events at the International Thespian Festival as a result of the South Carolina State Thespian Festival. Also, a student-directed one act play, The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden, was recommended to compete at the International Thespian Festival Regional Play Marathon.

The Fine Arts Department took home several honors from the SCISA Music Festival held at the University of South Carolina School of Music in Columbia.

The St Joseph’s chapter of the National Honor Society was named the “National Honor Society of the Year” for the second consecutive year at the annual SCISA Convention in March.

A seventh grader was named the state winner for the SHADE Foundation of America 2009 Poster Contest.

Twenty-three students received the SCISA Scholar-Athlete Award by earning a 3.5 GPA and lettering in two varsity sports. In addition, twenty SJCS athletes were named to the SCISA All-State Teams in their various sports. Three athletes were named SCISA Players of the Year in their respective sports.

One coach was named Region Coach of the Year and three coaches were named SCISA Coaches of the Year in their respective sports.

The first annual “Blue vs. White” Alumni/Senior Soccer Match was held on campus in May, affording many former students a chance to reunite with friends and coaches, and to re-connect with the school.

MISSION & MINISTRY

The school’s Parents Guild, the Athletic Booster Club (The Knights Circle), the Fine Arts Guild (The Jubilate Guild), and grandparent organization (St. Anne’s Society) continued their efforts to promote and foster support for the 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.

Nine students, along with the school chaplain, spent a week in El Salvador in Summer 2008 as part of the school’s second annual mission trip working in the CIDECO village, a Catholic housing, education, and employment project serving the poor.

For the first time, new students processed into the chapel through the “Red Door,” welcoming them into the school community during a special school-wide assembly in late August, and honoring the first thirteen students who walked through that same red door when the school began in August 1993.

In his memory, the Deacon Robert Brady Memorial Classroom was dedicated in early October and a memorial scholarship, to be awarded each year, was set up in his name.

For the first time, the school organized a group of students, parents, and staff to participate in the annual city-wide Life Chain in early October. The school also organized a trip to the annual March for Life Rally at the Statehouse in Columbia in January. In addition, students once again participated in “Forty Days for Life,” a period set aside each year for prayer and fasting, in an effort to end abortion.

The school community celebrated St. Nicholas Day in December by reviving the medieval custom of the Boy Bishop.

The Christian Leadership Award, a highly sought-after and acclaimed honor, was awarded to a SJCS junior at the state Youth in Government Convention held in December.

The school chaplain led the student body in celebrating the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent with a number of activities including, but not limited to, confessions heard by visiting priests, the recitation of the Rosary during lunch periods, and Eucharistic Adoration in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

Catholic Schools Week was celebrated in late January with a variety of events designed to celebrate the blessings of Catholic education. Under the 2009 theme of “Catholic Schools Celebrate Service,” highlights of the week included a Catholic Middle School Basketball Jamboree, as well as Staff, Student, and Volunteer Appreciation Days.

The school introduced a Flexible Tuition Program for rising ninth graders in its efforts to continue to make a Catholic, college-preparatory education affordable to qualified students who wish to attend.

For the first time, SJCS hosted a group of foreign exchange students from Saint-Denis International School, a Catholic school located in Loches, France. Six French students attended classes and lived with SJCS host families during the month of February.

The Director of Education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia was on campus in April to speak with high school students on stem cell research.

Father Michael Cassabon, Class of 1998 and a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, returned to the Carolinas, visiting campus and celebrating Mass throughout the spring.

The inaugural Scott Hahn Apologetics Scholarship, established this year by the school chaplain, was awarded to a student in hopes of encouraging a new generation of apologists for the Catholic faith.

Household and Retreat Programs continued to support the worship and service life of the school. Class retreats, led by the school chaplain in conjunction with the Campus Ministry Team, continued to help bring each student to a deeper level of Christian commitment. Year-round Household service projects culminated in the May 1st “St. Joseph the Worker” Feast Day celebration, in which students and staff performed community service work throughout the greater Greenville area.

The annual Welcome Back Family Social, the Parents’ Pasta Supper and Orientation, the Middle School Fall Fest, the Household Mom Program, the Family Conference Day, Grandparents Day, The Knight Before Christmas Auction Gala, Middle School Socials, the Book Fair, and the annual end-of-year Deo Gratias Celebration were some of the successful activities designed to welcome and encourage family participation in the life of the school.

2007-2008

Several events took place throughout the school year to mark and celebrate SJCS’s fifteenth year:

  • During a ceremony held at St. Michael Lutheran Church on July 22, 2007, school representatives were presented with the red door to the little house on Augusta Road that served as the school’s first campus in 1993. SJCS had requested the door to be placed on the school’s current campus as a reminder of its early beginnings, and St. Michael’s graciously complied.
  • A school-wide Fifteen-Year Celebration was held Friday, March 14, 2008. At the conclusion of the Anniversary Mass, the red door was unveiled and blessed in its new home in the back wall of the school’s main chapel. Outlining the red door are bricks from the former schoolhouse, and inscribed in thirteen of these bricks are the names of the first students to enroll at St. Joseph’s High School.
  • To ensure that all subsequent students remember the first days and miraculous beginnings of the school, a new tradition regarding the red door was established. The door will be opened only twice each year, allowing incoming freshmen and graduating seniors to pass through it in lasting tribute to the school’s beginnings. On Friday, May 23rd, 50 members of the Class of 2008 became the first graduates to pass through the door, as they processed around the campus to the cheers of faculty and underclassmen.

ACADEMIC

The Catholic High School Honor Roll’s fourth annual selection of the 50 best Catholic secondary schools in America once again named St. Joseph’s Catholic School as one of the nation’s “Top 50” schools. Since the Honor Roll’s inception in 2004, the school has been recognized as a “Top 50” school three out of the past four years. In addition, SJCS was ranked among the “Top 25” Catholic High Schools nationwide in Academic Excellence for the fourth straight year.

The school again posted SAT and ACT average scores that surpassed the county, state, and national averages in Fall 2007, with the Class of 2007 having an SAT average score of 1833, and an ACT average score of 26.

In a report issued in Fall 2007, SJCS students scored a 79% pass rate on Advanced Placement exams taken in Spring 2007, compared to a South Carolina pass rate of 57%. Of the 181 AP exams taken, students scored a “3”or better on 143. Students earned a score of “4” on 59 of the exams, and a score of “5” on 34 exams.

The National Merit Scholarship Competition recognized six SJCS students out of a class of fifty seniors. Three were named National Merit Finalists, ranking them in the top one percent of the nation’s high school students, and three others were named Commended Students, ranking them in the nation’s top five percent. In addition, one senior was named a National Achievement Finalist.

Fifty-four SJCS seventh graders, or 68% of their class, qualified for participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). These seventh graders became eligible by virtue of their performance on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), having scored in the top five percentile in the verbal, math, or composite sections during their sixth grade testing sessions. Eight of these students subsequently qualified for State Recognition by scoring above the national average on at least one part of the college entrance SAT or ACT tests.

Three SJCS juniors were chosen as part of a group of forty Upstate students to participate in Youth Leadership Greenville for this school year. Sponsored by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Youth Leadership Greenville seeks to engage area youth in classroom and practical learning experiences devoted to developing, cultivating, and nurturing students’ leadership potential, thereby involving them in Greenville’s future.

A team of high school science students won the Challenge Bowl Contest from among eight teams who competed at the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science Fall Meeting in October at USC-Upstate.

The Middle School Math Team tied for First Place out of thirty-nine teams in the annual South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) 2007 Middle School Math Meet held in October.

The High School Academic Team captured first place in the SCISA 2007 Regional Quiz Bowl held in November, representing the fourth year in a row that SJCS has advanced to the finals in the SCISA Quiz Bowl Competition.

One junior received the Terry L. Haskins Christian Leadership Award at the YMCA’s annual Youth in Government (YIG) Conference held in Columbia in November. This leadership award represents one of three awarded at YIG each year. In addition, several students were honored with the “Best Bill Award” and had their bills signed into law by the Youth Governor. An eighth grader was named “Outstanding Statesman” from among the middle school students in attendance at the conference.

One eighth grader placed first overall and third in the final countdown round at the annual MATHCOUNTS competition held in February at Clemson University. The SJCS Middle School Math Team placed fourth out of the 25 teams that participated in the competition.

The SJCS Middle School Quiz Bowl Team won the State Championship at the SCISA statewide competition held in February.

The History Department sponsored its first History Day, with ninth grade students displaying, and presenting their projects in the school library in March. Five students traveled to the State Archives in Columbia in April to compete for prizes at the state level, having gained entry by winning a regional event held in the Upstate.

Four middle school students were named winners and presented with $50 checks in the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation Essay Contest, having been selected from among several hundred entries county-wide.

The school’s twelfth Commencement Exercises celebrated the accomplishments of fifty members of the Class of 2008, who were awarded college scholarship and grant money in excess of $3 million dollars. Thirty-nine members of the class received scholarship money at an average of over $79,000 per student. This figure included, but was not limited to, 24 South Carolina Life Scholarships, 8 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, and 7 full tuition scholarships. The Class of 2008 was also distinguished by the addition of 14 new colleges and universities to the ever-growing list of those to which the previous 360 graduates were accepted, including Princeton University, Roosevelt University, and Rutgers University, among others. Other notables regarding this Class include: Three seniors accepted to the University of Notre Dame, the most from any single SJCS class; two others awarded Furman University Hollingsworth Scholarships out of twenty awarded statewide; and one student named the school’s first Presidential Scholar, an honor awarded to only 139 students nationwide.

CO-CURRICULAR

The Athletic Department sponsored ten summer sports camps in July and August 2007. Approximately 250 children, ages 8 and up, attended a variety of camps, including baseball, basketball, cheerleading, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling. Varsity coaches, alumni, and current high school students helped to provide instruction for this group of young athletes.

SJCS fielded thirty-three sports teams for the 2007-2008 school year, including seven Middle School, nine Junior Varsity, and seventeen Varsity teams. Within the SCISA AAA League, the combined seasons produced two state champions: Boys Cross Country and Varsity Boys Fall Soccer. Girls Cross Country, Varsity Boys Spring Soccer, and Boys Swimming placed second in the state. The Wrestling Team finished fourth in the state, with two wrestlers crowned State Champions in their individual weight classes. Varsity Boys Golf, Varsity Girls Soccer, Girls Softball, and Varsity Boys Tennis all advanced to the state playoffs. JV Boys Tennis was undefeated in regular season play. Both the Middle School Girls and Middle School Boys Soccer Teams were undefeated in regular season play, capturing their conference championships, and each won their respective conference tournaments.

In addition, twenty-one high school students received the SCISA Scholar-Athlete Award. In order to be eligible, a student had to earn a 3.5 GPA and letter in two Varsity sports. Eighteen high school students were also named to SCISA All-State Teams in their sports.

Three athletes were named SCISA Player of the Year (Varsity Boys Soccer, Boys Swimming, and Girls Cross Country). Two coaches were named SCISA Region Coach of the Year (Varsity Boys Soccer and Varsity Girls Soccer), and one was named SCISA Coach of the Year (Boys Cross Country).

A ninth grade student, ranked number two in the nation in the 100-breast stroke, was selected to attend the National Select Camps in October 2007 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

SJCS began plans for a start-up football program by introducing the newly-hired head football coach to the school community in December 2007. Those in attendance heard about the school’s vision for the program, as well as details regarding how the school intends to develop football in the coming years. A “Football Kickoff Banquet,” with several prominent individuals in attendance, was held in the school’s gym in February 2008 to raise money for uniforms and equipment.

SJCS students were named 2008 South Carolina State Thespian Winners in Scenic Design, Publicity Design, Costume Design, and Stage Management, and were selected to compete at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, NE in June 2008. The school’s International Thespian Society was active in bringing back “The Coffeehouse,” allowing students and parents a chance to showcase their talents in a live entertainment venue.

One senior was cast in the 2008 International Thespian Cast production of Hairspray. Another senior was named the 2008 Regional Shakespeare Competition First Runner-up and competed at the National Shakespeare Competition in New York.

The school’s fall play, Arsenic and Old Lace, and spring musical, Footloose, were performed to great acclaim as well as several nights of sold out performances.

The school held its first in-house Art Show to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. One art student earned Third Place Honors in the 2008 Congressional Art Show. In addition, art students painted landscapes and famous artwork on walls throughout the school.

One senior captured the $10,000 First Prize in the South Carolina High School Student Piano Competition sponsored by the Genesis Foundation. In addition, this senior also captured First Place in the Piano Division of the 21st Annual Carolina Youth Symphony/Carolina First Young Artists Concerto Competition.

The high school Student Council and National Honor Society were named SCISA Student Council of the Year and National Honor Society of the Year, respectively, for Division One Schools at the SCISA State Convention held in March.

The school’s St. Cecilia Mass Choir was formed and the school’s Faculty Choir made its debut performance at Commencement Exercises in May.

MISSION & MINISTRY

The school’s new Daily Mass Chapel was opened as a place where Mass is celebrated each day and the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. The chapel and altar were officially blessed and dedicated on March 15, 2008.

Class of 1998 alumnus, Michael Cassabon, was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Robert Baker in July 2007. Following his ordination, Father Cassabon celebrated Mass for the SJCS student body in September. School representatives presented Father with a crucifix, smaller but identical to the one that hangs in the school chapel.

The Board of Trustees Chair was awarded one of thirty papal honors in the state of South Carolina for her extraordinary service to the Church and to the Diocese of Charleston.

The Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an exact facsimile of the miraculous image given to St. Juan Diego and taken on tour as an aid to Catholic prayer and action, was present at the school’s weekly Mass in October. Students were addressed by a representatives from the New York based Sisters of Life, a young Catholic religious order for women who give their lives in prayer and action to defend human life. After Mass, students venerated the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, met with the Sisters of Life, and prayed for the end to abortion.

The school celebrated Catholic Schools Week with a variety of events designed to celebrate the good news in Catholic education. New for 2008 were an Art Show and Musical Recital celebrating the Fine Arts. The school raised over $3,400 during the week in support of the St. John Bosco Scholarship Fund, which in turn provides limited tuition assistance to the local Catholic elementary schools in the Piedmont Deanery. The 2008 amount reflected a 26% increase over the previous year.

Household and Retreat Programs continued to support the worship and service life of the school. Class retreats, led by the school’s chaplain in conjunction with the school’s Campus Ministry Team, continued to help bring each student to a deeper level of Christian commitment. Year-round household service projects culminated in the May 1st “St. Joseph The Worker” Feast Day celebration, in which students and staff volunteered their services working with special needs children, doing yard work, visiting the elderly, clearing out brush and debris, painting homes, and supervising elementary school field days, just to name a few activities.

The school’s Parents Guild continued its efforts to promote and foster support for the 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. Other support organizations, including the Athletic Booster Club (The Knights Circle) the Fine Arts Guild (The Jubilate Guild), and grandparent’s organization (St. Anne’s Society) also continued to assist the school through volunteerism, fundraising, and advocacy. The Parents Guild helped to fund a mobile computer cart for use in the school’s library. Twenty-five Dell Vostro laptop computers, complete with wireless internet access, were introduced this school year to enhance classroom studies and curriculum. The St. Anne’s Society introduced a cookbook this year consisting of outstanding recipes from St. Joseph’s families and friends, with proceeds benefiting the school library.

The annual Welcome Back Family Social, the Parents’ Pasta Supper and Orientation, the Middle School Fall Fest, the Household Mom Program, Family Conference Day, Grandparents Day, The Knight Before Christmas Auction Gala, Middle School Socials, Book Fair, and the annual end-of-year Deo Gratias Celebration were some of the successful activities designed to welcome and encourage family participation in the life of the school.

The school’s chapter of the International Thespian Society was awarded the “Trick-or-Treat so Kids Can Eat” Abundant Harvest Award for having the greatest one-year increase in total weight of food collected by a single troupe.

The school’s chaplain successfully led a group of sixty-two SJCS students to the 35th annual “March for Life” rally held in Washington, DC in January 2008. This group, the largest yet from St. Joseph’s, joined tens of thousands of other pro-life supporters in the annual march. Father also made plans to lead the school’s second summer mission trip to El Salvador in June 2008. Ten students will visit the country and work with the poor in the CIDECO village, a Catholic housing, education, and employment project that works to break the cycle of poverty for the poor.

2006-2007

St. Joseph’s Catholic School began the 2006-2007 school year with the formal ribbon cutting, blessing, and dedication of its new on-campus gymnasium and the school hosted a variety of celebration events involving students, staff, parents, alumni, donors, board members, and friends. Tommy and Jo Lasorda, who gave the initial contribution kicking off the school’s Capital Campaign leading to the gym’s completion, returned to campus in December to view the new building, and to enjoy an evening of student basketball games. Other development highlights included the first annual St. Anne’s Society Grandparents’ Day in October and the blessing and dedication of the school’s new library held during Catholic Schools Week in January.

The 2006 Catholic High School Honor Roll, designed to recognize those schools that excel in academics, Catholic identity, and civic education, again recognized St. Joseph’s Catholic School as one of the “Top 50” schools from the nearly 1,300 Catholic high schools invited to apply for consideration. In addition to the “Top 50,” the Honor Roll published the “Top 25 Finalists” in the three categories examined. St. Joseph’s ranked among the top twenty-five Catholic high schools nationwide in two out of the three categories: Academic excellence and Catholic identity. SJCS was also one of only twelve schools from among the “Top 50” that have earned recognition each of the past three years since the Honor Roll’s inception.

The National Merit Scholarship Competition recognized seven SJCS students out of a class of sixty-six seniors. Three students were named National Merit Finalists, ranking them in the top one percent of the nation’s high school students, and four others were named Commended Students, ranking them in the nation’s top five percent. In addition, one senior was named a Finalist in the 2007 National Achievement Scholarship Program, an academic competition for black American high school students.

Forty-two seventh graders, representing 60% of their class, qualified for participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP). These students became eligible by scoring in the top five percentile in the verbal, math, or composite sections of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) taken in sixth grade. Six of these seventh grade students then qualified for State Recognition, and two seventh graders qualified for Grand Recognition after completing the college entrance SAT.

Other academic highlights of the year included the following:

  • The High School Academic Team captured first place in the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) State Quiz Bowl competition held in November.
  • For the second consecutive year, the Middle School Quiz Bowl Team was a State Finalist in the SCISA State Middle School Quiz Bowl competition held in February. The team finished as State Runner-Up for 2007 and State Champions in 2006.
  • The Middle School Math Teams placed second and eleventh out of forty-one teams participating in the annual SCISA Middle School Math Meet held in October, with two eighth graders finishing in second place overall out of more than 200 participants.
  • Both High School Math Teams placed in the Top Ten at the SCISA State Math Meet held in January.
  • A senior was selected as one of two South Carolina delegates to the United States Youth Senate and was presented with an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., along with a $5,000 college scholarship.
  • A sixth grade student had her story published in the April issue of a national magazine.
  • The Class of 2007, consisting of 66 members, set a new school record for college scholarship and grant money totaling over four million dollars in scholarship offers. Fifty-seven members of the class received scholarship money, averaging over $70,000 per student. This figure includes 42 South Carolina Life Scholarships, 11 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, and 5 full-tuition scholarships. This class also recorded the highest SAT average of any SJCS class to date, with a score of 1227 in critical reading and math.

Athletically, St. Joseph’s fielded twenty-seven sports teams for the 2006-2007 school year: eight Middle School teams, five Junior Varsity teams, and fourteen Varsity teams. Within the SCISA AAA League, the combined seasons produced two state champions: Boys Swimming and Varsity Boys Soccer. Girls Cross Country, Boys Cross Country, Girls Swimming, and Varsity Girls Soccer all placed second in the state. The Wrestling Team finished fourth in the state, with two wrestlers being crowned State Champions in their individual weight class. Varsity Softball advanced to the state playoffs, finishing fifth in the state. The Middle School Girls Soccer Team went undefeated in regular season play and captured their conference championship.

Other athletic highlights of the year included the following:

  • The Swim Team broke four state records, including three relay records and one individual record, at the SCISA State Meet held in October.
  • The Varsity Boys Soccer Team achieved its second consecutive state title.
  • The Varsity Girls and Boys Basketball Teams each claimed respective championships in the Christmas Invitational Tournament.
  • A sophomore captured the SCISA Boys Singles State Runner-Up Title at the SCISA Open Individual State Tennis Tournament.
  • Thirty SJCS students received the SCISA Scholar-Athlete Award by earning a 3.5 GPA and lettering in two varsity sports.
  • Twenty SJCS athletes were named to SCISA All-State Teams in their various sports.
  • Three high school athletes were voted “Player of the Year” in their various sports: Boys Soccer, Boys Swimming, and Girls Soccer.
  • Two SJCS coaches were named “Coach of the Year” in Boys Soccer and Boys Tennis.

The Fine Arts Department performed their fall play Our Town and spring musical Singin’ In The Rain to much acclaim, with several sold out performances. In addition, the Department offered opportunities for students to participate, showcase their talents, and audition for college scholarships at the Palmetto Dramatics Association/ South Carolina Thespian Festival and the Southeastern Theatre Conference Convention.

One faculty member was awarded the SCISA “Volunteer of the Year” for his efforts in serving the school community in the following areas: Math Team Co-Moderator, Academic Team Moderator, SCISA Regional Quiz Bowl Host, Cross-Country Coach, Chess Club Moderator, and SCISA Chess Tournament Director.

The school community rejoiced in two ordinations during the 2006-2007 school year: The school’s chaplain, Dwight Longenecker, was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Robert Baker in December, and SJCS alumnus, Michael Casssabon ’98, was ordained to the Order of Diaconate in October with his priestly ordination scheduled for July 2007.

The school conducted a number of ministry programs and service opportunities throughout the 2006-2007 school year, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Student, staff, and Board of Trustee retreats were held over the course of the year. In addition, there were Advent and Lenten activities and a bi-monthly activity period, which included talks by local artists, a piano recital, a Shakespeare performance, a talk on chastity and a film on the life of St Francis.
  • Student Council, National Honor Society, and Campus Ministry joined forces for a combined high school service project to benefit “Christmas In The Park,” providing a holiday meal, toys, and clothing to needy families.
  • Middle and high school students combined forces in November canned food drives.
  • In November, Fr. Dwight, Mr. Kiser, and four high school boys visited a Catholic community and school in El Salvador on a fact-finding trip, and in June, Fr. Dwight took six students for a week on the first El Salvador Summer Mission Trip.
  • Middle School religion classes hosted a year-long spiritual adoption program for unborn babies, culminating in a year-end baby shower providing gifts and money for Birthright of Greenville.
  • Several students and staff participated in the annual “March for Life” rally in Washington, DC.
  • High school students brought in more than 100 cases of bottled water to benefit underprivileged children at Camp Opportunity.
  • Student households each adopted a chosen ministry throughout the year, culminating in a school-wide service day in May on the Feast Day of the school’s patron, St. Joseph the Worker.

2005-2006

St. Joseph’s added a new Middle School wing, a new library/media center, and many improvements to the existing chapel in time for the start of the 2005-2006 school year. In November 2005, ground was broken for the school’s first on-campus gymnasium, with plans to open the facility in August 2006.

The 2005 Catholic High School Honor Roll, designed to recognize those schools that excel in academics, Catholic identity, and civic education, recognized St. Joseph’s Catholic School for two consecutive years as one of the “Top 20” Catholic High School for academic excellence from the nearly 1,300 Catholic high schools invited to apply for consideration.

The National Merit Scholarship Competition recognized six students out of a class of fifty-eight seniors: Two were named National Merit Semifinalists, ranking them in the top one percent of the nation’s high school students, and four were recognized as Commended Students, ranking them in the top five percent nationally.

Thirty-eight seventh graders, representing 61% of their class, qualified for participation in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP).

Both the High School and the Middle School Academic Teams placed first in the South Carolina Independent School Association (S.C.I.S.A.) 2005 Regional Quiz Bowls, with the Middle School Team going on to win the State Championship.

The High School Math Team captured first place in the S.C.I.S.A. 2005 State Math Meet, with two students placing in the Top Ten.

Foreign Language students scored among the state’s Top Ten in National Spanish, French, and Latin Exams taken in March 2006.

Three Middle School students wrote winning essays from among the eighteen students selected out of 1,500 entries in the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District Essay Contest.

St. Joseph’s was named “Best New School” in the Middle School Math Team’s inaugural trip to the Clemson University Math Counts Competition in February 2006.

An eighth grader captured First Place in a short story contest sponsored by the Fine Arts Center, a contest open to all seventh and eighth graders in Greenville County.

A junior placed first out of more than one hundred students from eighteen schools in the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science “Speaking of Science” Competition.

Four St. Joseph’s students were among twelve students chosen from over one hundred entries to participate in The Peace Center “Poetry Slam Competition” held in December 2005.

A senior won “Best Editorial” in the 2006 S.C.I.S.A. State Student Publication competition.

The Boys and Girls Swim Teams both set new state records at the S.C.I.S.A. AAA Swimming Championships held in October 2005. The Boys Relay Team broke the 400-meter Freestyle Relay record and the Girls Relay Team set a new state record in the 400-meter Freestyle Relay, besting their previous state record set in 2004.

The Boys Swim Team finished first out of thirteen teams, claiming the S.C.I.S.A. Class AAA Boys State Swimming Title.

The Varsity Boys Soccer Team won the S.C.I.S.A. AAA State Championship in October 2005 in Columbia, defeating three-time State Champion Beaufort Academy.

One of the Boys Varsity Soccer players was named the S.C.I.S.A. Player of the Year for Fall Soccer.

Two High School boys were named State Wrestling Champs in their respective weight class at the S.C.I.S.A. State Wrestling Meet.

The Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls Basketball Teams were both crowned Conference Tournament Champions in February 2006, with the Varsity Boys finishing undefeated in conference play.

The Varsity Girls Softball Team went undefeated in regular Conference Play and won the Conference Championship in Spring 2006.

The school’s Youth In Government delegation received the Outstanding Delegation Award out of thirty-six delegations from across the state.

A sixth grader captured First Place on the state level in the Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest, with her entry moving on to compete at the international level. An eighth grader captured First Place in a Knights of Columbus Essay Contest.

The High School Student Council had three members elected to statewide offices at the S.C.I.S.A. State Convention.

Fine Arts students were recipients in both 2005 and 2006 of several International Thespian Scholarships at both the state and national levels.

A theatre student was selected for the national cast of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” to be presented in 2007.

St. Joseph’s was named a 2007 Selection for the American High School Theatre Festival in Scotland.

Fine Arts students were named South Carolina State Thespian Winners in Acting, Scenic Design, Publicity Design, Costume Design, and All-Star Cast in both 2005 and 2006.

A student was named the 2005 Regional Shakespeare Competition Winner, and another was named the 2006 First Runner-Up.

St. Joseph’s enjoyed a record number of applicants for the 2006-2007 school year, with 282 students applying for admission, an increase of 27% over the previous year. This translated into another explosive year of growth in the Middle School, with enrollment topping 215 students, up 19% over the previous year.

The school community celebrated the accomplishments and gave thanks for the many blessings of the 2005-2006 academic year in the first annual Deo Gratias celebration.

The fifty-eight graduates of the Class of 2006 raised the bar of academic achievement considerably, with graduates receiving thirty-one S.C. Life Scholarships, seven Palmetto Fellow Scholarships, four full-tuition scholarships, and more than $3.7 million in college scholarship offers.

The Early Years

Despite its small size, the first group of thirteen students was offered a full college-prep curriculum consisting of Biology, World History, English, Geometry, Algebra, French II, Latin I, and Religion. A nearby YMCA was leased for PE classes. Students attended St. Mary’s Parish as well as Our Lady of the Rosary Parish for weekly Mass.

“It was a great experience,” said Ryan Beebe, a student in that first class. “We were a close-knit group and did everything together. A lot of the things that we decided on are still in place today…the school mascot, the school colors. I’ll always be able to look back and say we were the first ones, the real pioneers.”

Before long, interest grew and expansion was eminent. The school’s Site and Location Committee soon purchased a 16,000 square foot facility, allowing for the relocation of the school to the 800 E. Washington St. campus near downtown Greenville in January of 1994.

After just one full year of operation, the school earned full accreditation from the South Carolina Independent School Association in May 1994. Not only did this confer a “stamp of approval” on the school, but also began a long-standing association with over eighty independent schools in the state for participation in both academic and athletic activities. Enrollment rose to 47 students by the time classes were open for the second academic year, and the curriculum was expanded to include both 9th and 10th grade classes. An athletic director was hired and the school formed sports teams. St. Joseph’s first annual Holiday Shopping Spree was off and running in the fall of 1995 in an effort to help supplement tuition. In the second year alone, the school offered more than $15,000 in financial assistance to needy families, never losing sight of its goal to afford qualified students the opportunity to attend St. Joseph’s. And the list of “firsts” just kept growing: Student Council won their first Best Service Project Award from among more than 75 schools around the state. The St. Joseph’s Math Team won their first statewide competition in their division. Students first traveled abroad to France over Spring Break for the ultimate classroom learning experience.

Brett Myers, Class of ’98, remembers being part of that winning Math Team and traveling abroad. “What made St. Joseph’s special is that we were given so many opportunities…we were asked and encouraged to do everything…making us more well-rounded and well-prepared for college.”

Although the student body was predominantly Catholic, St. Joseph’s was proud of its ecumenical roots. The school’s very existence was helped along by the encouragement of a Baptist minister, the school’s first location was provided by St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, and the school’s gymnasium facilities continued to be provided by Fourth Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, and Augusta Heights Baptist Church.

A grade was added each year so that by September 1996, the school had a full, four-year program; before long, the first graduation ceremonies were underway. In May 1997, the founding class held commencement exercises in St. Mary’s Church with Father Edmund P. Joyce, Vice-President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame, serving as the school’s first commencement speaker.

It was about this time that the Board of Trustees realized that the vision of what could be offered and future growth for the school were limited by the existing facility, so in the spring of 1997, the decision was made to pursue a more attractive facility, both in terms of size and location. The school’s Site and Location Committee turned its attention to the vacant property and former home of Amoco/Phillips Research and Development at the intersection of I-85 and Laurens Road. After fundraising, negotiations, and many more prayers, the Board took its biggest leap of faith yet in December 1997 with the purchase of the property where the current campus now resides. The facility included three buildings, totaling 125,000 square feet sitting atop 36 acres.

But the physical campus wasn’t the only thing that was expanding. In a short time, enrollment had exceeded the 100-student mark. The curriculum was broadened to include more electives as well as more Advanced Placement classes, and for the first time, the school had a full-time Guidance Counselor. The school’s Academic Team finished first in a division Quiz Bowl, competing with schools from around the state. The Fine Arts Department was expanded to include Chorus, Instrumental Ensemble, a Pep Band, and a Bell Choir, and the Theatre Department sponsored its first dinner theatre production, Brigadoon. The accomplishments continued in the sports arena as well, with the addition of several more sports teams and The Knights Circle, the school’s athletic booster club, was established. The students were treated to special guest and baseball legend Tommy Lasorda during his visit to the school in the spring of 2000, with the promise to return to assist the school in raising funds for its upcoming baseball field.

By the summer of 2000, construction had begun on the school’s Phase II renovations. Upon the issuance of five million dollars in revenue bonds, the school immediately began to prepare for an influx of new students and a 50% increase in enrollment. This expansion allowed the school to nearly double the amount of usable square footage. A new cafeteria and school store were added. Upgrades in all of the science laboratories and classrooms were completed to include new lab tables, lab service hubs, physics equipment, and microscopes. The third floor was finished with the addition of seven new classrooms, and a second floor mezzanine added another seven classrooms. In addition, new lockers, desks, chalkboards, lunch tables and chairs, computers, a portable stage, a new 14-passenger school bus, and a host of other items were purchased to round out the renovation. And to top it off, all had to be ready for the first day of school, August 15, 2000, and the Bishop’s arrival on campus.

In what was the most significant event to date in the history of St. Joseph’s High School, as well as the fulfillment of the dream of those nine founders over ten years ago, the school attained recognition and approval by the Diocese of Charleston on August 15, 2000. After years of discussions, negotiations, and prayers on behalf of many individuals, Bishop Robert J. Baker formally signed the official decree stating that the Diocese and the school would enter into a two-year probationary period. This decree would acknowledge the school’s independence in operational and financial matters while at the same time granting it the Bishop’s blessing and his ongoing pastoral guidance in all matters related to the faith. As a direct consequence of the agreement, the priests of the Diocese were encouraged to minister to the students on campus by providing Mass and Confession as a regular part of the sacramental life of the school. In conjunction with this important step forward in the school’s spiritual life, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for student adoration was opened.

The eighth academic year opened in the fall of 2000 with 165 students marking the second straight year in which the school posted a 50% increase in enrollment. In addition, the school added the St. Thomas Aquinas Program to assist a small group of college-bound students with language and learning disabilities. The school earned its first sports State Championships in Boys and Girls Cross Country in the fall of 2000, followed by three more State Championships the following year in Girls Cross Country, Girls/Boys Swimming, and Boys Soccer. The school’s ninth academic year opened in the fall of 2001 with 226 students and many changes. Most visible were the newly constructed second floor classrooms, as well as a comprehensive outdoor athletic complex on campus with newly constructed baseball, soccer, and softball fields and four tennis courts. The school hired its first Academic Dean, and course offerings were expanded. In addition, the Household Program was introduced to ensure that students’ individual academic and personal needs would be met during their years at St. Joseph’s. As promised, baseball legend Tommy Lasorda returned to campus for a fundraiser in November, and St. Joseph’s largest annual Christmas fundraiser, “The Knight Before Christmas” Auction Gala, was expanded with a new format, complete with a new look and feel. The school’s annual average SAT scores reached a record high, and St. Joseph’s congratulated its first National Merit Finalists. In addition, St. Joseph’s deliberately sought to build bridges to the community with the formation of its first Advisory Council comprised of local business and professional leaders. The school also hosted its first “St. Joseph’s Sunday” in many of the local Catholic parishes and invited the Upstate community to campus for the first Family Fest Weekend.

The tenth academic year opened on August 22, 2002 with 258 students enrolled in the high school. In what will be remembered as the most significant event of the 2002-2003 school year, the Board of Trustees announced in January 2003 that a Middle School would open on the campus for fall of 2003. In addition, the school’s Math Team captured First Place in the Division I State Math Meet, and the several sports teams advanced to the State Playoffs in the school’s first year of advanced AAA level competition. The St. Joseph’s Fine Arts students received local acclaim for the construction of a robot for the school’s spring musical Little Shop of Horrors. Academically, the Class of 2003, consisting of 33 members, set a new school record for scholarships and grants, totaling $1.8 million dollars in offers. In addition, a senior received the school’s first college NCAA Division I Athletic Scholarship.

On Thursday, August 21, 2003, St. Joseph’s began its second decade of educating students with the return of over 250 high school students to campus. Several days later, on Monday, August 25th, almost ten years to the day of the opening of St. Joseph’s High School, the doors opened to the new middle school with the arrival of 57 new sixth and seventh grade students. With the approval and blessing of Bishop Robert Baker, this new combined group of over 300 students now formed St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

That fall, the National Merit Scholarship Competition recognized five St. Joseph’s Catholic School students out of a class of forty-nine seniors as National Merit Finalists, ranking them in the top one percent of the nation’s high school students; two more seniors were recognized as Commended Students, ranking them in the top five percent nationally. In athletics, the SJCS Varsity Girls Cross-Country Team and the Varsity Girls Soccer Team captured two state sports championships during the 2003-04 school year, while the Boys Soccer Team finished their season as the State Runner-Up. The school’s Fine Arts Department set a new standard for area high school theatre with their production of Fiddler on the Roof. In May, USC Head Football Coach Lou Holtz visited the campus to speak to the students and then attended a luncheon to help rally support for the school’s Capital Campaign. The school’s eighth Commencement Exercises showcased the Class of 2004, which set a new school record for scholarships and grant money totaling $2.3 million dollars in offers.

In what was sure to be the highlight of the 2004-2005 school year, the Catholic High School Honor Roll recognized St. Joseph’s Catholic School for the first time as one of the Fifty Best Catholic High Schools in the country. In addition, St. Joseph’s ranked among the top twenty Catholic schools nationwide in the academic category. The school’s Academic Team captured the State Championship at the S.C.I.S.A. Quiz Bowl Finals. State titles were also earned in Varsity Boys Wrestling and Varsity Girls Soccer, and the Varsity Girls Swim Team set a new state relay record. Student Council was once again named the State “Student Council of the Year,” and one member was elected to a state office for the S.C.I.S.A. Student Council. The 2004-05 school year saw increased growth in the middle school, the school’s first eighth grade class transition into the high school, the design-winning production of the school’s spring musical My Fair Lady, and friendships formed and developed in the new Parent-to-Parent program. The school also graduated its largest class to date in May 2005 with 63 members, setting a new school record for scholarships and grants totaling over $3 million dollars in offers, and adding thirty-four new colleges and universities to the list of schools to which previous graduates had been accepted. Finally, due to the generous response to the school’s Capital Campaign to date, St. Joseph’s began yet another expansion project in the summer of 2005 with the addition of a new middle school wing, a state-of-the-art library and media center, and plans to break ground on a new school gymnasium.