The St. Joseph's Way
We follow the Saint Joseph's Way, an educational approach that believes Christ is actively present and able to fulfill the spiritual needs of our students. We begin by asking Christ to reveal Himself within the school and then strive to recognize signs of His presence within the community.
- Rooted in the Founder's Vision
- A Privileged Opportunity
- The St. Joseph's Way
- Infinite Worth
- Positivity of Reality
- Fulfillment in Christ
- Personal Accompaniment
- Entrusting Each Student to God's Loving Plan
A forty-year prayer for a Catholic high school in the Upstate became a reality in 1993, when the work and prayers of many individuals culminated in the opening of St. Joseph's in Greenville, SC.
In addition to providing a Catholic high school for the Upstate region, the founders of this school were blessed by the Holy Spirit with a particular charism to meet the needs of their students.
First and foremost they believed that St. Joseph's must receive its sustenance from God and educate its students from the very heart of the Roman Catholic Church.
The founders believed the school was tasked with a missionary outlook in order to welcome and invite students and families from all backgrounds into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
It was through the kindness and support of non-Catholic individuals and communities that the founders of the school were able to initially open its doors, making ecumenism a necessity from the very beginning.
As a Catholic institution, our school is open to families and students from a variety of socioeconomic, academic, and racial backgrounds in the Upstate, regardless of their ability to pay full tuition. This accessibility is in keeping with the word 'Catholic,' which means 'universal.'
Margaret Ann Moon, the founding board chair, believed that the school community should always rely on God for its existence and prosperity. She would often say that "we are not doing this, God is." She believed God would provide the people and the dollars the school needed to fulfill its mission at any given time in the school's history.
St. Joseph's Catholic School teachers and staff believe that the teenage years are a privileged time in a person’s life with respect to faith development. During this stage, students are driven by a strong desire to understand the motivations behind the traditions they have grown up with and begin to ask "why". Answers such as "because this is the way we've always done it" or "because I said so" no longer satisfy. They have a newfound need to know the meaning, purpose, and reasons for the values we propose to them.
During this stage of development, teenagers often become aware that their desires for happiness exceed their ability to fulfill them, leading to a search for answers to the fundamental questions of life. This newfound openness to such questions presents an opportunity for teachers, coaches, and staff to listen, sensitively respond to student's questions, and patiently guide them as they discover that Christ can satisfy their deepest needs and desires.
Effective religious education for teenagers starts by engaging students at the level of their need. If students do not come to realize that they need God to be truly fulfilled, efforts to teach religious truths are likely to go unheeded.
To help students understand their need for God, a teacher can utilize students' personal experiences and the natural world as effective tools, as both reveal the presence of God through beauty and mystery. The role of a Catholic school teacher is to be genuinely passionate about their subject matter, which will enable them to convey that fascination and wonder to their students.
The ultimate goal of a Catholic school teacher is to demonstrate that a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became man and is still present with us, provides the answers and satisfaction for all human inquiries and desires. This realization usually occurs through an experience with Christ within a community that is characterized by his compassionate and loving presence.
As grateful stewards of the gift God gave us through our founders, The St. Joseph's Way is our approach to Catholic education. It is summarized through four categories: Infinite Worth, Positivity of Reality, Fulfillment in Christ, and Personal Accompaniment. These four categories, and their effects, will influence the daily life of our school community.
The St. Joseph's Way affirms the infinite worth and innate religiosity of each member of the school community.
- We believe that all students are worthy of an exceptional and excellent Catholic education and therefore give them our best.
- We do not give up on our students, ever.
- We strive to outdo one another in showing honor, courtesy, and professionalism, including in the way we communicate with each other in person or online.
- We are gracious in our communication to students, their families, and fellow colleagues.
- We seek to understand others who are different from us through open dialogue and assuming the best.
- We do not divide people into an acceptable in-group and a rejected out-group.
- We recognize that our students have distinct gifts and capacities, and we encourage them in all their endeavors both in and out of the classroom.
- We do not measure a person's worth or value based upon his/her status, achievements, beliefs, and or behaviors.
- We do not marginalize students based on reputation, prior achievement, or academic background.
- We reject prejudice, racism, sexism, and classism in all their forms and manifestations.
- We interact with others with the awareness that they are infinitely valued and loved by God and that they are ultimately seeking God, whether they realize it or not.
- We prioritize the needs of the less fortunate and the marginalized members of our community.
- We are committed to going to the margins to enroll and equip students to be successful at St. Joseph's.
- We are deeply dedicated to fulfilling the command of the Gospel to love our neighbor through adhering to Catholic Social Teaching.
The St. Joseph's Way embraces all of reality, believing that it comes from God and therefore reveals signs of His presence in the world today.
- We are intensely interested and curious about everything.
- We approach every academic subject area as worthy of our careful study.
- We are committed, as an institution dedicated to teaching, that everyone involved should be up-to-date on modern research concerning learning and teaching sciences; therefore, we highly value ongoing professional development.
- We believe and teach that there is no contradiction between faith, reason, and science.
- We encourage our teachers to look for ways to introduce students to the ultimate mysteries at the root of their respective academic disciplines in order to point to God's creative and mysterious handiwork.
- We support, encourage, and celebrate truth, goodness, justice, and beauty wherever it is found.
- We welcome contributions from students of different backgrounds and believe that respectful, honest dialogue is a step toward truth.
- We revere and value arts education and athletic programming as a privileged place for discovering beauty, truth, and goodness.
- We care about the environment, recognizing that God's gift of creation demands our wise stewardship by reducing waste and making good use of what has been entrusted to us.
- We do not let our difficulties and challenges defeat us, but instead, use them as opportunities for growth and learning.
The St. Joseph's Way proposes that fulfillment is found in communion with Christ, who remains a living presence today in the friendship of His followers, the Church.
- We do not assume that our students come to us as believers and/or disciples of Jesus Christ; therefore, our approach is less about forming the already convinced but rather about revealing the beauty of Christ and the reasonableness of faith to the seeking.
- We believe that our students come to us with an innate desire for God as expressed in their relentless pursuit of love, belonging, significance, truth, beauty, goodness, justice, and ultimately happiness.
- We encourage our students to look closely at their human experiences and motivations in order to help them judge what gives life true satisfaction and meaning.
- We aim to show students how faith in Christ and fellowship with His followers makes life more fulfilling and interesting.
- We strive to present the teaching of the Catholic faith in the most pastoral and inviting way possible, emphasizing that it is in a relationship with Christ that human needs and desires find their true fulfillment.
- We set aside moments during the day for prayer to acknowledge Christ's presence in the midst of our daily life.
- We ensure that the sacraments of the church are readily available to our students, faculty, and staff.
- We provide extended opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to reflect upon their relationship with God through retreat opportunities.
- We encourage and facilitate opportunities for Christian fellowship with the conviction that Christ is encountered in the communion of His people.
- We welcome students and families from other Christian denominations and other faiths, or of no faith at all, with the warmth, hospitality, and love of Christ.
- We rely on God to meet all of our needs while working to be good stewards of the gifts and resources He has blessed us with.
- We walk in union with our Bishop and Pope, looking carefully in the direction that they are pointing and guiding the Church.
The St. Joseph's Way encourages teachers and staff to support their students as they exercise their freedom to verify the school's Christian proposal.
- We cultivate a joy-filled, positive environment that signals that we are approachable and open to students and parents.
- We are patient with our students, taking the long view, realizing that human maturity and Christian discipleship is a lifelong journey.
- We respect the freedom of our students and provide them with the necessary resources to explore and understand the school's Christian beliefs.
- We are careful not to convey any form of rejection toward students who do not share our Catholic beliefs.
- We correct and discipline our students in a way that ultimately builds them up and improves our relationships with them, refraining from punitive, shaming, or demeaning remarks and behaviors that damage relationships.
- We believe that as adults in this community, we are responsible for setting an example and being the model of grace, mercy, and empathy for our students.
- We set aside time in the schedule for Household gatherings and other activities for the purpose of getting to know our students beyond the classroom.
- We approach sports as a privileged opportunity for personal growth and team building while viewing winning as a byproduct of doing things well and defeat as an opportunity to build character and learn from mistakes and disappointment.
- We extend grace to each other, recognizing that God can work through our mistakes and that He can use our struggles for His loving purposes.
We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a Catholic education to each student entrusted to us by his/her parents. We aspire to work in solidarity with parents to help each student discover and develop his or her particular gifts and talents. We pray that all our students will have a personal connection with God, feel His unconditional love, and discover their unique purpose, so they can use their talents to benefit others. We believe that the process of discovering one's personal connection with God is a lifelong journey. We acknowledge that things may not always go as planned and that at times, patience and endurance may be necessary for all parties involved. However, we have faith and know from past experiences that God has a way of making things right despite our mistakes. Therefore, we set our eyes on the lifelong journey of each person, knowing with great certainty that God in His infinite wisdom and merciful love will bring to completion and fulfillment the good work He has begun in each student.