Category Archives: Schools

Schools “Change” Lives for Catholic Charities’ Clients

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by Lucy Medvec

Spare change may not seem like a lot of money at first, but when over 1,000 Shreveport Catholic school students work together, their coins can truly “change” lives in the community.

During Catholic Schools Week in January, students from Loyola College Prep, St. John Berchmans School, and St. Joseph School collected over $2,660 for Catholic Charities of North Louisiana through their “Coins for Change” drives that were held at each school.  Classes within each school competed against each other to collect the most change with Loyola’s sophomores, St. John’s 4th graders, and two Pre-K4 classes at St. Joseph School, emerging as coin champions. All funds raised from the coin drives will go towards CCNLA’s Emergency Assistance Program which assists families with the payment of their rent or utility bills in order to avoid eviction or shut-off of utilities.

While Loyola and St. John students participated in straightforward coin collections, St. Joseph School took it up a notch by participating in a school-wide “Penny War.”  The premise was that pennies were worth positive points, while silver coins and paper money were negative points.  The class with the most positive points would be the winner, so students would donate their negative points (money) to the other classes in order to diminish their totals.  According to Greg Beauclair, Development and Marketing Director for St. Joseph School, the Penny War brought out the competitive side of SJS students.

“We had collected a total of $600 through Thursday,” said Beauclair, “but on Friday, the students had doubled that total with their donations. Everyone was waiting until the end to see who would win.”

The Pre-K4 classes at St. Joseph School donated over 7200 pennies alone, with well over 20,000 pennies collected from all three schools during the week.
Lucy Medvec, Director of Development and Communications for Catholic Charities likes the idea of student coin drives because “it shows students that if everyone gives some amount of money, no matter how much, it all goes together to create a greater impact.”

Medvec hopes to make the “Coins for Change” drive an annual part of Catholic Schools Week and to include students from schools throughout the diocese. Local restaurants Raising Cane’s and Rotolo’s Pizzeria donated prizes for the winning classes, but overall the winners of the coin drive will be the clients who benefit from the students’ generosity.

Students of the Year Named at Catholic Schools

The Students of the Year Awards Program is designed to recognize outstanding elementary, middle and high school students. This program, patterned after the Teacher of the Year Awards Program, is an excellent opportunity to recognize from each school system those students who have demonstrated excellent academic achievement, leadership ability and citizenship. The Students of the Year Awards Program is sponsored by the Louisiana State Superintendent through the State Department of Education and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Congratulations to the following district winners:

5th Grade:  Garret Taylor
Jesus the Good Shepherd School

8th Grade:  Sarah Briery
First Baptist Church School

12th Grade: Carrigan English
Loyola College Prep

Congratulations to our Diocesan Student of the Year winners 2016-2017:

Catholic Schools Week

Catholic Schools Week took place January 29 – February 4. During that week our six Catholic schools participated in special events to highlight the benefits of a Catholic education, which included communities of faith, knowledge and service.

Photos from left to right: Fr. Lijo and Jesus the Good Shepherd School principal Lisa Patrick at the school’s annual Basketball Shootout. St. John Berchmans student participates in their annual Cardinal Krewe Games. St. Joseph School eighth graders publicly display their Catholic school pride. Eastern deanery students join together in an All Schools Mass with Bishop Michael Duca. St. Frederick High School students take part in a living rosary.

SJB Hosted Religion Scholars Bowl

St. John Berchmans School hosted its 8th annual Religion Scholars Bowl on February 2 as part of Catholic Schools Week. Students in grades third through eighth from each school competed in teams during the day-long event featuring questions, activities and skits about the Catholic faith. The students were from Jesus the Good Shepherd School  (Monroe), Our Lady of Fatima School (Monroe), St. Frederick High School, 7th and 8th (Monroe), St. Joseph School (Shreveport) and St. John Berchmans School (Shreveport). Bishop Michael Duca and principal Jo Cazes awarded the first place medals to the seventh grade team. St. John Berchmans looks forward to hosting this annual event as it has become a great way for Catholic school students from North Louisiana to meet and enjoy fun competition with one another and to bring about a sense of community.

JGS Students Competed in Scholars Bowl

A group of 12 students from Jesus the Good Shepherd School, ranging from grades three to six, competed in the 8th Annual Religion Scholars Bowl at St. John Berchmans School in Shreveport during Catholic Schools Week. The students competed in a day-long event featuring questions, activities and skits about the Catholic faith.

“Live the Vision” at St. Joseph

As part of their Continuous School Improvement Plan, St. Joseph Catholic School launched “Live the Vision” on January 27, in a day-long celebration of learning and team building activities. Each student, K3 – 8th grade, and all staff members were divided into eight different colonies. Each colony is given a different color, saint and virtue. The colonies will work together individually and as a team to earn points by performing acts of service, spirit, excelling academically and through athletics. Points are added to each colony’s total, and at the end of the year, “The Colony Cup” is awarded to the colony with the most accumulated points.

Perkins Wins Spelling Bee

Congratulations to Tyler Perkins for winning first place in the Our Lady of Fatima Spelling Bee. Tyler will go on to compete at the All Parish Spelling Bee in March.

St. Fred’s Participated in Literary Music Rally

St. Frederick High School had four students participate in the district literary music rally. From left to right: Anna Grace Gill, Ara Mercado, Cale Guillory and Caroline Florsheim. Congratulations to these students.

Cheerleaders Donate Bags of Love

St. John Berchmans’ JV cheerleaders made and donated “Bags of Love” to the adult male and female residents of Providence House on Saturday, February 11. The bags contained scented lotions, shower gels and body sprays along with chocolates!

Pictured: Charlotte Fulco, Maya Beasley, Melissa Murray, Brooklynn Thompson, Alexandra Kerr, Anaya Germany, Isabella Cascio, Ella Acree.

Vocations View: Want to Change a Life? Support Catholic Education

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by Lisa Cooper

Catholic vocations in all forms, from religious and priestly to living and working faithfully as a layperson all have to start somewhere. Oftentimes that place is in Catholic schools. In 2015, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) put together a Catholic Schools Fact Sheet highlighting the numerous benefits of a Catholic education. The results were astounding.  Their findings indicate that a Catholic education impacts the lives of students far beyond graduation, possibly even for a lifetime. Among the many advantages of graduating from a Catholic school, here are a few of the most notable:

• Catholic school students are more likely to pray daily, attend church more often, retain a Catholic identity as an adult and donate more to the Church.

• Catholic schools tend to operate as communities rather than bureaucracies, which links to higher levels of teacher commitment, student engagement and student achievement.

• Students in Catholic schools demonstrate higher academic achievement than their public school peers from similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

• Currently, 5 of the 8 Supreme Court Justices went to Catholic school

• Catholic school graduates enjoy higher earning potential than public school graduates.

Evan Cooper

While it’s exciting to see statistical evidence that favors Catholic education, what’s more telling is a glimpse inside the life of a student who has had experience in both non-Catholic and Catholic school environments. Evan Cooper, a non-Catholic and sophomore at Loyola, transferred from another Shreveport private school. He says being at Loyola has certainly made a difference in his life. When asked about specific differences between his experience at Loyola compared to that of his previous school, Cooper says, “The faith aspect has been a big difference. Learning about Catholicism has taught me things I have never heard before. It has given me a real sense of truth.”  When asked about how being part of a Catholic school has affected his faith, he says, “[Learning about the Catholic faith] has made me look more deeply into it.  There are lots of things that are in the Catholic Bible that aren’t in my Bible, and it makes me wonder what else is out there that I’ve never been taught.”

Changing schools has certainly come with its share of challenges. Cooper echoes this statement as he points out, “I was not used to the effort I had to make academically.  It has taken a while to get used to the time I have to put into completing homework and learning material.”  He also notes that the faculty at Loyola has played an important part in making the transition easier. “The faculty seems like they are doing more than trying to get you through high school. They really care about you, so they’re trying to make you better for life and stronger in your faith.”
He continues with advice he would give any other student making that transfer, “Loyola may not push you as hard physically, but they will definitely push you harder both in academics and in your character.”

How often do we drive by our Catholic schools without stopping to think about what’s happening inside?  We have something very special in our backyards. We have parents, faculty, students and partners working together to make something spectacular happen. We have our Catholic schools, which not only provide our children with a fantastic education, but also which sow in our children the seeds of outstanding character and strong faith that will bear fruit they need to carry them for a lifetime.

Interested in learning more about our diocesan Catholic Schools? Visit www.dioshpt.org/catholic-schools for resources.