I am a local cardiologist, and after completing a visit with one of my older patients recently, I was walking with her toward the checkout when she inquired about my daughter, Isabel. I updated her on her age and grade and she asked, “Where does she go to school?” When I answered, “St Joe’s,” she stopped walking, grabbed my arm, and said that her grandson, now a sophomore at Clemson who had attended Wade Hampton High School, came to her last year during his freshman year and told her that he had noticed the St Joe’s kids were by far the most well-prepared for the college experience. I know we all feel it deep down, but it was so comforting to hear it from someone completely unrelated to our school environment. As an aside, my daughter thanks me on an almost weekly basis for sending her to SJCS. She has told me that St Joe’s and our annual Music and Worship Conference have been key to making her who she is. Thanks for your attention to all our kids.
Barbara Moran-Faile, MD
Mother of Isabel, Class of 2022
I would say that my faith was a foreign part of my life before Campus Ministry. I was a good Catholic, but going to Mass and talking about my faith always felt like something separate from my “normal” life. Campus Ministry taught me to recognize this deep absence in my heart, a great longing that pointed to God. Without recognizing this absence, Christ only helps me when I die; who is He to me right now, while I try to make myself happy? Once I realized that the emptiness and the desire for something more follow me everywhere, then my faith was no longer foreign. I can now truly say that I need Christ, not just to save me sometime in the future, but because without Him, I feel alone in front of the world and my own plans for happiness.
Class of 2019
St. Joe’s is a quality investment for your child intellectually and emotionally, but also, financially. We all recognize that sending your child to St. Joe’s can be an expensive undertaking. The financial cost here versus a public education can be and ought to be reframed as an investment — an investment in the mental and spiritual well-being of your child. Although the high school and middle school years are only four to seven years, they are the most formative and definitive years in the hearts and minds of our children. Making the sacrifices to send your child to St. Joe’s is an investment in their character. It is the place where the hearts, minds and spirits of students are lifted and loved.
Mother of Ishan Lal, Class of 2021
After three years in public middle school, our son, Miles, looked successful on paper but below the surface, he was not happy. He loved the game of basketball but was seldom given the chance to play, as no one believed in his potential, until Coach Paul entered his life, and this is where our St. Joe’s journey began. As parents, we had never considered a private school for our children, but at the suggestion of a current SJCS parent, we decided to enroll Miles at St. Joe’s his freshman year. I’ll never forget the day that our son got into the car after school and said, “Thank you so much for sending me here!” My heart melted; he was finally happy. Miles had found his place, and this was his home for the next four years. In those four years, he grew into the wonderful young man we knew he could be. His teachers were always there for him and he developed close connections with many of them. They challenged him in many ways and brought the best out in him academically. Coach Paul believed that, with a lot of hard work and determination, Miles could be a great basketball player. He pushed our son in every way possible and encouraged him to never become complacent. Hard work pays off but having a person who believes in you can make all the difference. Miles had a standout career playing basketball under Coach Paul, and my son will cherish those years forever. The friendships he made with his teammates are lifelong; those boys will have a bond that will last forever. St. Joe’s changed our child’s life, and we will always hold that experience close to our hearts.
Amy and Jim Murray
Parents of Miles, Class of 2019
I wanted to share a recent conversation I had with my high school son. As I am sure you can relate, many of my most enlightening conversations with my children, especially the teenagers, happen while driving in the car. My oldest turned to me and said, “Mr. Tierney was a great literature teacher. I didn’t realize how good he was until recently.” I then asked why he thought so, and my son went on to say, “Mr. Tierney made me understand and appreciate the books he wanted us to read. He always had a reason why it was important that a particular book be read. He was excited about the books we read, and that made me excited to want to read them. He made the stories come to life. I don’t read books the same way I used to because of him.” My first thought was, wow, a conversation not about computers or online games. My next thought was that is why we picked St. Joseph’s — for the wonderful teachers. I don’t think we say thank you enough.
Mother of Gabe (Class of 2022), Josh (Class of 2023), Emily and Nicholas (Class of 2026)
Ever since I was in the first grade, I wanted to come to St. Joe’s. I saw my cousins and their friends going to school there. When students from St. Joe’s used to come to my school (St. Anthony’s) and visit, they displayed qualities that I wanted to have one day. They were leaders and they were always open to helping others. They would tell us that St Joseph’s is challenging, but I’m always ready for a new challenge. Now that I’m here, I realize we are pushed to work hard and taught to be kind, caring, and the best people we can be.
Class of 2022
One of the only things that I can say about parenting, with 100% certainty, is that it is really hard. As much as I would like to control outcomes and know all the boxes I should check to ensure that my children will be OK, the frustrating truth is that I can’t do either of those things. I think what makes it particularly difficult for parents is that the struggle belongs to our children, not us. They are the ones wrestling with the challenges of growing up, being true to themselves while trying to find their place in community with others. They are trying to learn who they are and what their purpose is in this world, and how to handle unexpected bumps and disappointments along the way. As parents, we are all trying our best to figure out how to support them on their journey through this. In that regard, I would strongly encourage any parent to consider nudging your middle school child towards involvement in St. Joe’s Campus Ministry. In our family’s experience, Campus Ministry activities have been a place where these struggles are given voice, brought out in the open and discussed in the context of a loving God. I’ve heard Wednesday afternoon Eighth Grade Campus Ministry described as both fun and serious, a place where students are encouraged to look for God in the everyday. Mr. Lewis and the high school leaders bring an authenticity to this program that I think is rare in youth ministry. The high schoolers who generously give their time to share their stories at Friday morning middle school Agape are consistently described as “real.” I am always amazed at the honesty of these speakers and the way they unabashedly share how important God is in their lives. Every student is at a different point in their own personal faith journey, but I think that everyone involved in Campus Ministry tries to meet each participant right where they are, without judgement. As a parent, it is tremendously reassuring to know that my children have this opportunity to be reminded of God’s unwavering love.
Mother of William (Class of 2025) and Alex (Class of 2023)