Category Archives: Schools

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

0217schools1

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.

Monroe High Schoolers Serve Street Shelter

St. Frederick high schoolers work together to provide for those in need at DeSiard Street Shelter in Monroe.

by Randy Smith, JGS Community Outreach Director

Members of Mrs. Olga Trejo’s Spanish class at St. Frederick High School in Monroe recently decided to undertake a community service project benefiting those in need.

Prior to Christmas a number of students collected 200 personal care and hygiene items and packaged them in approximately 30 large plastic baggies. Among those students participating in the project were students Kelly Glaze, Emily Brodtman, Auburn Morgan, Frances Doyle, Annie Juneau, Gabriela Trejo and Nory Brockman.

Trejo then contacted Randy Smith, Community Outreach Director of Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe, in search of an appropriate ministry to which the gifts could be presented. Coincidentally, Smith, who serves also as Vice-President of the DeSiard Street Shelter, a non-profit corporation serving the needs of the homeless in the Monroe area, was at that time helping plan the organization’s annual Christmas open house.

Invitees to the open house were being asked to bring entry donations such as food and winter clothing for distribution to those who are fed meals at the shelter.

“I figured the toiletry and personal hygiene items would be a perfect complement  to the other gifts,”  Smith said.
Smith delivered the items to Arthur Hogan, a kitchen supervisor at the shelter, on December 17, and they were later distributed to the less fortunate.

According to Trejo, the students are delighted to have been of service to the needy, especially during the holiday season, and plans are already underway to participate in such endeavors in the future.

Student Annie Juneau said, “It’s a great thing to serve and help out in our community, and seeing the effect it has on those in need is amazing.”

Francis Doyle recollected on her participation. “Helping people is a really great thing, especially around the holidays when everyone is concerned about what they are getting. It’s nice to remember what the season is really about.”

Student Gabriela Trejo described the experience as a privilege, stating that it is wonderful to help those who cannot care for themselves. “I will definitely be doing it again,” she said. Class member Auburn Morgan re-discovered the truth in the old saying that giving benefits the giver as well as the receiver. “Helping others makes our community stronger,” he observed. “Just the thought of helping others is satisfying. It makes each of us a better Christian.”

The DeSiard Street Shelter is biblically based and serves over 34,000 meals a year to the under-resourced in the Monroe area. Many of the shelter guests also utilize available shower and laundry facilities and participate in Bible study sessions during the week.

For further information, please visit the shelter website at www.desiardstreetshelter.org, or check out its Facebook page.

Students of the Year at St. Joseph

St. Joseph School announced in Mass on December 14, the 2016-2017 Students of the Year. This year’s winners are Ellie Kate Jackson, 8th Grade, and Olivia Shuff, 5th Grade. These two students were chosen from a group of six finalists in each grade level by a committee of faculty members. The selection process included each finalist submitting a personal essay, participating in a faculty panel interview and having their grades, service hours, and other qualifications reviewed. “Olivia and Ellie Kate both have excellent academic achievement, leadership skills and exemplary citizenship traits,” Principal Dr. Judith McGimsey said of the winners.

Spelling Bee Winners at St. John Berchmans

Congratulations to all St. John Berchmans School Spelling Bee Finalists! Pictured here are 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners: Reynard Landreneau, Tiffany Siharath and Harrisen Smith. Reynard will go on to compete in the Regional Spelling Bee at Louisiana Tech. The winner of that bee will compete in the National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Fr. Jim Shares Nativity with JGS

Fr. Jim Moran surprised Mrs. McDuffie’s Kindergarten class on the day of their class Christmas party with a story about “The Newborn King.” Fr. Jim, in his priestly Christmas attire, sat with the children and the parents to share the story of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The children gathered around Fr. Jim to listen, and afterwards had many questions about the birth of Jesus. It was a special blessing that Fr. Jim bestowed on the children, to share his time and knowledge of the Lord and we thank him for sharing his love of Jesus with all of us at Jesus the Good Shepherd School.

Christmas at Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima School celebrated the holiday season with a special program: “Christmas in Concert.”

The Church Welcomes Five Loyola Students Home to the Faith

by Lisa Cooper

At Loyola, we celebrate our students for countless reasons.  We have students who excel academically, some even making perfect scores on their ACT’s.  We have students who serve our community in impactful and sacrificial ways by gathering coats, feeding the hungry and helping the elderly.  We have students who inspire others through their willingness to take the lead and through their integrity.  One of the most significant occasions when we celebrate our students, though, is when they make life-changing decisions.  Recently, five Loyola students made such a decision. They chose to convert to Catholicism. Freshmen Griffen Valiulis, Gray Hodges, Steven Beruvides, Ian McDonald and junior Ryan Lee all received the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation in November.

When asked about the primary influence for their decision to convert, McDonald credits the writings of St. Pius X and podcasts from apologist Tim Staples at Catholic Answers.  Beruvides, on the other hand, credits his friend Carlos Gonzalez, who was not only a witness to the faith through his life and in his friendship with Beruvides, but also was able to answer his questions and even help him overcome some obstacles to his faith.  “I did have many doubts before coming into the Catholic Church,” Beruvides explains.  While taking catechism classes in another faith, he was told that the Catholic Church didn’t ordain women. “I didn’t agree that women shouldn’t be ordained.  What I was not told was that there were very good reasons why [the Catholic Church doesn’t ordain women].  Carlos explained everything to me [in a way that I understood].”

Taking the conversion process and the profession of their faith with great seriousness, these students faced obstacles as they grew in the knowledge of the faith and made their way into the Church.  “The hardest part of my journey,” says Beruvides, “was giving up the bad things that I was doing.”  For McDonald, “admitting that I needed spirituality in my life” was the most difficult challenge.

In addition to the joy of coming into the Church, for one student this journey came with an unexpected special moment as well.  When asked about his family’s being supportive of his decision, Beruvides says, “my family has been very supportive of my becoming Catholic.  My dad was raised Catholic and reverted back into the Church with me.”

Our Loyola family celebrates these students during such an exciting time.  We ask that you join us in offering prayers and support as they continue to be rooted and to grow in our rich and beautiful faith.

Students Participate in Relic’s Visit

0117sjb

The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans Catholic School in Shreveport highly anticipated the arrival of the heart of St. John Berchmans. The students prepared by saying a Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception daily in morning assembly. Many students attended a press conference with Fr. Peter Mangum and numerous media outlets to discuss the arrival of the heart. SJB students had the opportunity to attend the first Mass to venerate the heart. Each class in K3-8th grade, had a unique opportunity to venerate the heart with a special explanation from Fr. Peter. SJB students also attended presentations from Andrew Thomas, discussing his comic strip about the life of St. John Berchmans, as well as Fr. Carlos Martins, who shared the exposition of Sacred Relics. All have been blessed by this experience!

JGS Students Receive Fruit Donation

Jesus the Good Shepherd School received an organic fruit donation and special blessings from Fr. Job, Matthew and Mercy Edavettal and Angie O’Pry from Fiesta Nutrition Center. The Edavettal Family Farm out of Hessmer, LA actually produced the organic fruit. Fr. Job told the JGS students that all good things come from God and that He provides us with natural, healthy food grown from the Earth. The students received a special blessing along with fresh satsumas. Fr. Job blessed the children and the school’s organic garden.

SJS Spelling Bee Champ

St. Joseph School held its annual Spelling Bee on December 9. Students grades 3 – 8 took to the stage for a chance to win a spot in the final local Spelling Bee. After 22 rounds and 148 words, 7th Grade student Max Alsup spelled the word “partridge” correctly, winning first place and earning a spot in the next round.