Emory University junior Leah Saunders, a 2017 SJCS graduate, has been named to the 2019 Division III All-America First Team as chosen by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).

The South Region Player of the Year and a four-time University Athletic Association Player of the Week, Saunders led Emory to the NCAA Division III national championship match, where the Eagles came up short in their bid to repeat, losing to Johns Hopkins. She was one of two Emory representatives on the All-Championship Team.

Saunders earned a berth on the NCAA Atlanta Regional all-tournament team and was selected to all-tourney squads this season at the Emory Classic (MVP), Emory Invitational (MVP) and the East-To-West Battle.

Click here for more on Saunders’ All-America honor and here for more on the championship match.


G.P. McLeer, a 2006 SJCS graduate and a member of the St. Joe’s school board, has been elected mayor of Fountain Inn.

G.P. defeated incumbent Mayor Sam Lee 57% to about 43%, according to the unofficial Greenville County election results, as reported by The Greenville News.

“St. Joseph’s provided me with an environment where I could strengthen the leadership, perseverance, and people skills that prepared me for my run for mayor,” G.P. said. “The trusting relationship between the school and students empowered all of us to take our passions and turn them into action and experience. I am, and always will be, grateful to the St. Joe’s family for their support of my formation, and that of my sister (Mairin, Class of 2013) and brother (Michael, Class of 2020).”

Click here for The Greenville News report on the election.


University of South Carolina senior Grace Cooney, a 2016 SJCS graduate, has been named a recipient of the Rotary Global Grant to pursue a Master of Science in Migration, Culture, and Global Health from Queen Mary University of London in 2020-2021.

Rotary Global Grants are valued at more than $30,000, provide one year of graduate study abroad and encourage recipients to engage in community service work.

Grace is a Stamps Scholar and senior in the South Carolina Honors College, where she majors in Public Health and minors in French. After graduation in May 2020, she will attend Queen Mary University of London and receive a Master of Science in Migration, Culture, and Global Health. She aims to use her experiences abroad and passion for combating inequity to create tangible change through hands-on care in underserved populations.

Read more about Grace and the honor she has received at the following links:


Junior running back Luke Bikulege rushed for a career-high 93 yards on 16 attempts and scored two touchdowns to lead Carnegie Mellon University to a 24-3 victory over Waynesburg University in a Presidents Athletic Conference game at Gesling Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Saturday, October 12.

Bikulege, a 2017 SJCS graduate, scored on runs of 6 and 15 yards for the Tartans, who improved to 5-1.

So far this this season, Bikulege has carried 58 times for 248 yards and scored three touchdowns.

Congrats to Luke on his big day!



Dr. Caitlin McLear, a psychologist with Synergy Psych in Greenville, returned to her alma mater recently to speak with students in Mrs. Meby Carr’s psychology class.

Dr. McLear, a 2006 SJCS graduate who was in Mrs. Carr’s household, spoke to the students about how she deals with patients from the ages of 3 to 93; how she handles those who struggle with expectations and the pressures of today’s society; how difficult it is to get through to some patients; and many other interesting topics.

Click here for more on Dr. McLear and Synergy Psych.


By Bob Castello
SJCS Director of Communications

Madeline Fric didn’t know until a little over a month ago that she’d be heading off to Benedictine College in Kansas, nearly 1,000 miles from home, and she doesn’t know where she’ll be a year from now, and she’s not really concerned.

She has God as her compass.

“I’m really just an instrument of whatever God wants me to do,” Madeline, a 2014 SJCS graduate said during a recent stop at her alma mater.

Madeline, who graduated from Samford University in December, recently committed to volunteer as a missionary with FOCUS — Fellowship of Catholic University Students. It’s been a long, interesting journey, one that she travels with a smile and with her faith in tow.

Upon graduation from St. Joe’s, Madeline enrolled at the University of California, San Diego, but she transferred after one year. She began at Samford in the spring of 2016 and became involved with FOCUS that fall.

After graduating from Samford in December, Madeline accepted an internship with FOCUS in Denver this past spring, after which she was asked to work at its summer training program.

“It was about halfway through training and I had four days to pray and discern if this was what God was asking of me,” she said, “and through Mary’s Fiat and the Blessed Sacrament — I think those were the two things — it was very clear that God was inviting me to be a missionary this fall, and I decided to go to campus as a missionary with Focus.

“I couldn’t be more excited or more certain that this is what God has asked me to do.”

She’s headed to Benedictine, “another surprise she didn’t see coming,” but despite the distance, she’s excited to follow God’s plan for her.

As for her daily activity, Madeline said it will consist of Mass, praying a holy hour and praying a rosary as a team. She’ll be encountering students on campus, meeting girls for meals and Bible studies and fun events in the evenings like basketball and bonfires.

“I think the biggest part for me is the community aspect, the call to be friends and grow together and encountering a deeper love for Christ through friendship,” Madeline said.

As for a long-range plan, Madeline said she knows only that she has a two-year commitment with FOCUS and that she’ll be at Benedictine for at least a year.

“I know that Benedictine is where I’m supposed to be for this next year, so that is where God is deciding to work His will,” she said. “But I’ll probably take it year by year and see if I’m called to stay longer.”

Madeline said St. Joseph’s continues to have a huge impact on her experiences.

“I think St. Joe’s is where I discovered what it means to have faith and the desire to continue to pursue that throughout my life,” she said. ” I don’t know who I would be without my experience at St. Joseph’s.

“I definitely attribute it to the teachers as being role models for what it’s like to live the experience of the Catholic faith and the desire to show that with us. I can see that as a gift I received here. And I still keep in touch with some of the amazing friends that have journeyed with me since I graduated.”

For more about Madeline’s work with FOCUS and about supporting her journey, go to:


Hadestown, a musical produced by SJCS graduate Sally Cade Holmes (Class of 2006), won eight Tony Awards during Broadway’s biggest night Sunday at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Hadestown won a total of eight categories, the most of any nominated show, and also had the most nominations with 14. The show won for:
  • Best Musical
  • Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
  • Best Scenic Design of a Musical
  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical
  • Best Sound Design of a Musical
  • Best Direction of a Musical
  • Best Orchestrations

Sally Cade was back at St. Joe’s in November, talking with students about her experiences as a Broadway producer. She produced Anastasia, which was touring the country and was showing at the Peace Center at that time.

Congrats to Sally Cade on her big night!!


Brooks McCoy (SJCS Class of 2015), a recent graduate of Kenyon College and a four-year member of the Lords’ swimming and diving team, was among the winter sports recipients of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Brooks will receive a one-time, nonrenewable grant of $10,000 after being chosen from a pool that includes all three NCAA divisions. Each sports season (fall, winter, spring), 21 scholarships are available for men and 21 for women for use in an accredited graduate program. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.

Brooks, who majored in economics and was a 2019 team captain, plans to attend the University of Georgia School of Law.

While competing for the Kenyon swim team, Brooks was a three-time NCAA qualifier. He specialized in distance events, as well as the 400-yard individual medley, and won three NCAA All-America awards and one All-North Coast Athletic Conference honor.

Congrats to Brooks and best of luck in law school!



For those of you who may be interested in attending and showing support for Maddie Starks (SJCS Class of 2018)…

Maddie is one of six finalists in the “1 Voice Hub City” singer-songwriter competition at the Wild Wing Cafe in Spartanburg.The specific theme of the contest was overcoming adversity. Maddie used two poems that she wrote during her creative writing class with Megan Koon.  She pulled them together and then added music!

The event will be at the Wild Wing Cafe in Spartanburg at 7:00 PM tomorrow night (Thursday, May 23).  Tickets are $10 and all proceeds from the contest go to Safe Homes, a rape crisis center.

Good luck to Maddie!


Lauren (Hawkins) Dion, a 2006 SJCS graduate, was named Leukemia Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year during the organization’s annual gala May 4 at the Charleston Convention Center.

Each year, local business people run a 10-week campaign to raise money for this worthy cause. It became of particular interest to the Hawkins family after Dawn and Andre’s son, John (Class of 2013), was diagnosed as a 14-year-old student at St. Joe’s.

Lauren ran as one of the 12 candidates in the Lowcountry. She raised $55,700 for the cause and earned 2019 Woman of the Year honors. Andre Hawkins ran in Greenville in 2012 and won Man of the Year. Lauren’s husband, Chris Dion (Class of 2005), ran last year in Charleston, and John Hawkins will run in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2020.

Congrats to all in the Hawkins family!


St. Joe’s Class of 2015 graduates Katrina Konopka and Imani Grace King have been honored by the University of Arizona and Furman University, respectively.

Katrina was recognized as the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Outstanding Senior of the Year. She also is the recipient of the Merrill P. Freeman Award, one of two presented annually to seniors by the University of Arizona administration, taking into consideration character, popularity, receipt of athletic awards, membership in organizations and service on committees and as officers.

As a member of the Arizona swim team, Katrina was a three-time All-American, six-time honorable mention All-American and three-time Scholar All-American.

Imani has been chosen to give the commencement address at Furman.

A special congrats to these former Knights!!

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